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The Changing Climate Surrounding Novice Teachers As someone with no professional teaching experience and only impressions of my own teachers to rely on, Schools Need Teachers Like Me. I Just Can't Stay really struck a chord with my curiosity into the attitudes of young teachers. Sarah Fine, the article's author, taught at a DC charter school for 4 years and has now decided to leave the profession. From her writing, Fine appears passionate and intelligent while providing a genuine description of her personal background and experience as a 10th grade teacher. She sites two main reasons for her decision to stop teaching: (1) "burnout" and (2) "the way people, mostly nonteachers, talk about the profession". In truth, it's a sad and disappointing story, though I think that in some (even minute) way, it's relatable. What I'm trying to say is that readers will likely find her decision understandable. Fine cites that nationally, about 1/2 of all teacher leave within 5 years, and that percentage is higher for urban and charter school teachers. She explains her challenges in engaging students and motivating their achievement, but also describes her moments of pride and satisfaction. She also raises what I find to be the most intriguing philosophy on why she could no longer face her own disappointment with teaching and her yearn for what others tend to consider more "ambitious" professions: In their book "Millennials Rising: the Next Great Generation," sociologists Neil Howe and William Strauss characterize the members of my generation as "engaged," "upbeat" and "achievement-oriented." This is why we become teachers. We seek to challenge ourselves, and we excel at pursuing our goals. Howe and Strauss go so far as to call us a "hero generation." Our engagement also explains why we are leaving the classroom. We are not used to feeling consistently defeated and systemically undervalued. This post is a bit wordy; I suppose I am trying to raise a concept to ponder but want to do so with respect toward the teaching profession. Fine's ultimate purpose (as is this post's) is to raise the need for teachers ready to hack it, highlight the strong points in their schools, and stay longer.
Admit It: Your Computer is What You Open and Close Your Eyes To I'm sorry, but this article I could not resist presenting this to the EdLab. While the majority of us spend our days online with eyes focused on a computer screen, why is it that we feel the need to continue that habit at home? I've asked myself multiple times why I come home each day and hop right back on. Better yet, why do I enjoy my Cheerios in the morning while checking email? I'll be here at the EdLab in an hour, anyway. "Network deprivation" (aka "sleep") is a re-occurring problem for online update enthusiasts. It's becoming faux-pas to reply to emails or post back on someone's wall in an untimely fashion (>1 hour). Arbor Networks, a Boston company that analyzes Internet use, says that Web traffic in the United States gradually declines from midnight to around 6 a.m. on the East Coast and then gets a huge morning caffeine jolt. “It's a rocket ship that takes off at 7 a.m,” said Craig Labovitz, Arbor's chief scientist. The Gudes, as described in the article, use texting as a pseudo intercom system in their home (used for waking each other up and getting each other's attention when is separate rooms). Families are also finding that ground rules need to be set for computer and cell phone usage, simply because due to their portability, they are capable of being used anywhere and anytime at home. And finally, posted in the article's comments: Going into the office quietly in the morning and logging on my computer connects me to the world and prevents me from disturbing my sleeping wife. She is a night person and I am a morning one. By 5:30 am she is ready to wake up and start the day and I am ready to join her after spending 1-2 hours on our computer. I couldn't have it any other way. It keeps our marriage going. -every girl's dream
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Metanoia: Shifting Thoughts on Education I admit, I'm not much of a blog-browser, but I came across Ryan Bretag's blog which poses some engaging questions about the usage of technology and Web 2.0 in learning contexts. He's not arguing against educational technology at all, he's merely suggesting how it can be better used to promote "a learner-centered, multidimensional learning space." His argument is that the collective approach (of teachers and administrators) to implementing brand new technologies raises the following concerns: There are no rules Stifle creativity and innovations Just starting points Underlying the use of technology in schools is the motivation for students to be more participatory in their learning and thus achieve higher. Bretag asserts the need for this motivation to stay strong in the minds of implementers. Lastly, he raises these exploratory questions: "Thus, how are emerging technologies being infused within the classroom in connection with social practices and notions of current/future generation of learners? How are you developing principles and guidelines for emerging technologies using research, theory, and practitioner narratives? Are we perpetuating the old rather than engaging these technologies as means of reinventing education in a powerful manner? When will powerful models begin to develop for others to use as inspiration and motivation?"
How Do You Reflect on Your Undergraduate Experience? Looking back, what part of your undergraduate college education do you value most now? A poll (2007) conducted by the NYTimes and MTV U assessed graduates' impressions of several facets of the undergraduate experience (study write-up is attached). Drawing opinions on issues from how they felt when choosing a college all the way to how they think a degree will break them into a career, this study appeals to my own reflections, as a recent graduate, on the past 4 years. What qualities were very or somewhat important when you were deciding which undergraduate college to attend? If you could relive your college years, what would you do differently? In truth, I have always been fascinated by the American college/university system and its contrast to those of any other country's system. Though not every high school graduate attends an institute of higher education, nor does everyone consider themselves to have had a "college experience", what I find intriguing is the American college lifestyle (think: breaks during the day, late late nights, making your own schedule) that is so distinct from that during any other point in one's life. Undergrad in America is a prominent subculture. Maybe this is just nostalgia talking....
Avoiding a "Digital Dark Age" A team of researchers in Japan are working on The World Digital Library Project (WDLP), aiming to provide a gallery of historical information that's freely accessible. What this project needs to store all of this information, however, is a remarkable memory device. This article in BBC News details a permanent memory system: the Digital Rosetta Stone. Made of silicon, it is believed that this material will replace CDs and DVDs in the future due to its impenetrable nature (more durable) and storage capabilities. Though questions are still surrounding this device's ability to hold up for several years (they're looking for something to store memory for at least 1,000 years), they have already completed 2 studies that demonstrated its ability to outlast DVD-Rs and CD-Rs. A final challenge is making the Digital Rosetta Stone withstand fluctuations in Earth's magnetic field. This poses a problem because data is encoded in magnetic charges, and changes in the magnetic field affect the stability of the stored this case, archived information and media. All in all, I'd love to see an archive of historical information from around the world stored in one space for generations upon generations. Free ourselves from the need to update those Encyclopedia volumes from grandparents.
iPhone as a Data Collection Device In the aftermath of yesterday's seminar on Hugebrow and linking with my personal interest in research methodology, I have been tapping my thoughts into the possibilities of data collection through non-traditional means. One of the major problems of conducting a research study, especially one in which participants need to be monitored, is having them actually come to a lab and take the time to meet in-person. Online studies are becoming increasingly popular as they are one solution this problem, but Matt Killingsworth, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Harvard University, has another (and maybe even better) data collection strategy: conducting his doctoral research from an iPhone application. This article in the NYTimes explains his project, which measures the trajectory of happiness throughout one's day. Track Your Happiness (ps. look at its little icon in the URL line) is the name of the iPhone application through which participant happiness tracking is administered, and it enables the user to specify the frequency and time at which they are willing to provide information about their mood, and even generates your own "happiness report". So far Killingsworth has a little over 1,000 participants, and Track Your Happiness can be launched through any mobile web browser (not just iPhone). He also states that limiting his participants to smartphone (mainly iPhone) users will not skew his study's results because, “We're looking more at universal human psychology and less at the demographic factors affecting happiness.” He makes another point that unlike most students in his cohort, and even most psychology doctoral students in general, the iPhone app enables him to break away from the widely used undergraduate student subject pool of 18-20 year olds. Last but not least, Track Your Happiness is not nearly as costly as traditional research studies of a similar design. While I see his argument for why limiting participants to those with mobile internet capabilities works for his study, I am still skeptical that this should not be taken into account. Then again, I'm usually critical of study recruitment and personally find participant diversity essential to the validity of most research studies. Does possessing an iPhone have a relationship with happiness?
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Social Media Job? Reading Five Jobs for Facebook Addicts, the article reminded me of the above post I found on my friend's wall, thoughtfully posted by her brother. This article describes the following jobs and their appeals to facebook lovers: recruiter,...
Green Initiatives and Layout for a Green Classroom Recent blog posts (like this one about EdLab's visit to St. Philip's Academy have got me more interested in green initiatives taking place in K-12 schools. Global Green USA and Green Cross International-Education for Sustainable Development are two such initiatives that I have come across on the web. Global Green USA details green movements in American schools, and presents this layout designed for southern California schools with membership in the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS). Additionally, Green Cross International organized an event in an L.A. school in which the project's director provided sensible commentary on the benefits of sustainable changes in schools. One of his remarks is on the high cost of utilities to maintain a school building that should re-invested in learning necessities (i.e. textbooks, supplies); another remark is on our national duty to implement sustainable practices in our daily lives.
Self-Publishing with MagCloud While my experience with drafting and publishing extends merely to working with my high school's yearbook team, lately I find myself interested in learning more about the professional writing and publishing process. I discovered MagCloud, an online tool from HP that allows you to design a magazine and they'll go ahead and publish it. According to this audio slideshow in which UCBerkeley students use MagCloud to publish their campus fashion magazine, the tools is fast, easy to use, and cheap--great characteristics of an online app. Furthermore, images print with clarity and depth. This article from the LATimes briefly outlines some of MagCloud's potential applications, such as creating your own blog, but this time with a hard-copy. I would assume that many college and even high school-level publications would be interested in testing out MagCloud due to its efficiency and quality. Seems like a great fit for modern interests in customization and design.
Google Street View---Track the Viewing Car This may be old news to some, but apparently the Google Street View car was spotted in Manhattan just a couple of months ago during its month-long assignment in New York. As someone curious about the process of how the street view images are captured, this article puts my curiosity to rest. New Yorkers even commented on their street view car spottings in this video clip: is devoted to postings of funny happenings with the street view car. I will admit, sometimes when using googlemaps I'm a little disappointed with the street view collection (I haven't found a street view yet for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.). A work in progress that is undoubtedly an undertaking to maintain...perhaps EdLab can do a better job in capturing a smaller space. Jeff, I remember your proposal of a "library view" version that captures the TC libraries and stacks. I think "TC View" (to solve the maze that is TC) is a creative and useful idea to incorporate into TC 101!