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What does the relationship between school and home look like today? Traditionally, the parent-teacher conference has been the accepted model for relations between a student's family and their teacher. For years that process has been the norm, but now it is changing. In more and more schools, students are leading the conferences, and technology is opening the door for new forms of communication. Education Weekly reported Many teachers themselves speak enthusiastically of the advantages of student-led conferences over teacher-led ones. “We found the [student-led] conferences most beneficial,” said Keith Eddinger of the Marcus Whitman Middle School in Rushville, New York. “From a teacher's perspective, we were able to get a better picture of each child. It forced us to sit down with each student and review strengths and weaknesses. This conversation often told us the students learned more than perhaps we had measured through conventional assessments.” This EdTechTalk provides more information around models to include the students and how it allows for fostering more responsible learners. "The focus is less about the academic grades and focuses more on the student as a learner and how their skills are developing, it is all directed at the kids." Additionally, with numerous ways technology allows for communication, how is this affecting the connections between school and home? An article featured in GOOD calls for parent teacher conferences needing to evolve for the 21st Century. A growing number of teachers create classroom websites or blogs and post what their class will be learning that week and what assignments are due. Teachers are able to be in touch with parents easily via email. Also K-12 schools can use third party sites where parents log in and view their children's grades and homework. In districts that use such services, up to 70 percent of parents say they check their children's progress at least once a week and feel more connected to the school. Should maintaining a blog or online communication be mandatory in all schools today? I would be interested to know how many schools still use the parent teacher model and what the demographics for a model of continuous communication between the school and home look like. In addition beyond blogging and access to grades are their models that exist where technology supports student lead conferences or some blending of online communication and a more active student role.
Are you curious about the process of earning a Ph.D.? Have you ever wondered about some of the details, such as the defense process? An emerging trend for uses of social media tools is to make this process more transparent. For example, yesterday doctoral student Danielle Lee, of the University of Missouri, St. Louis live-streamed her dissertation defense, as reported by Science Magazine's Career Blog. Her dissertation entitled: An Investigation of Behavioral Syndromes and Individual Differences in Exploratory Behavior of Prairie Voles, Microtus ochrogaster, was streamed live and remains accessible here. Additionally, there was also some live tweeting associated with the event in which she was happy to welcome questions and comments from anyone interested in being apart of the experience. Interestingly, she is not the only one to do this as I have come across multiple other twitter posts including links to a live channel for dissertation defenses. I am curious to see if this will catch on and eventually become a way to include more of the community not only in the process of understanding what is involved in obtaining a Ph.D but also as a forum for receiving feedback from an interest community. I also wonder about the potential learning opportunities around having an extensive video archive of dissertation defenses as well as an open source policy surrounding access to them.
10 years ago
I found an interesting articled featured in Fast Company that asks 'How Will We Learn to Use the Multi-Touch Interfaces of the Future?' This question is a consideration for any current developer but also personally resonates with work I am involved in that uses breath expiration as a input gesture for a mobile device. So far we exist in a relatively simple and seamless realm having simple usability gestures-- the iPhone actually recognizes: pinch and zoom, drag and scroll, tap and select. While these current technologies harness the multi-touch interface capabilities in a fairly intuitive manner they cannot escape communicating how to use such features. Libraries such as Gesturecons have arisen out of the need to simply communicate how to use these features. But when you consider potentials of where gestures and interface capabilities can go you can bet that the multi-touch surfaces will take on more complex manifestations which will also involve an entirely new grammar of movement that will need to be communicated. As a graphic designer, such new innovations could pose formidable challenges and/or as the article calls for: a Harry Beck of the 21st century.
With nearly 100% of college-aged people now "living" on Facebook, colleges and universities have an unprecedented opportunity to connect with their prospective and current students in one place - Facebook. Adopting the strategy to meet students where they are, a start up company called Inigral, has developed Schools on Facebook. It provides examples of how to build an app on an existing social networking platform that allows institutions and students to centralize and integrate a variety of activities. Rather than course management, Schools on Facebook fosters an online community where prospective and current students, faculty and alumni share information and have discussions between people in the same courses, dorms and organizations; receive notifications; share class schedules; interact with professors without showing their profiles; find other students near their location; see upcoming events on campus; and get in touch with alumni. Users can also become fans of dorms, majors, departments, each of which has a unique fan page within the app with accompanying photos. Inigral now hosts 11 educational institution affiliations and a total of three that are currently active – Abilene Christian University (ASU), Arizona State University and Columbia College Chicago. Abilene went live in 2008, and ASU and Columbia started in 2009. Visit here and join for the next webinar on Enhancing Facebook to achieve institution-wide goals. TODAY: Friday, March 5, 2010 at 1pm EST. This project may be very relevant to our work at the EdLab as it aims to harness social networking for higher education purposes and those working on such projects may want to check this out.
Using Social Networking for Wellness. As a part of a program for the wellness of middle school students, the Quest to Learn School launched a social networking site called 'Being Me'. The site allows students to engage in a range of activities that encourage self exploration. The variety of opportunities that exist within the network include experiences such as self-reflective moments where students are able to track how they're feeling to more community-oriented activities where they participate in online discussions or share perspectives. This tool is harnessing social networking capabilities toward student personal development and exploration of self. Students have already begun using the network, of which making and uploading representations of themselves and reflecting on their personal well-being, was apart of their initial experiences. 'Being Me' has seen a quick adoption among the middle school population by recording usage results within a day of its introduction and beyond the boundary of only usage in school. With students logging on from home to post status updates, write blog entries and share media, the relationship between Q2L's in-school and out-of-school learning spaces have already began to shift. With a strong start it will be interesting to see how 'Being Me' establishes itself as a vibrant space of interaction as well as a future model for student self-expression and well-being. Being Me is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and developed in collaboration with Chicago's Digital Youth Network. I think this application of social networking tied with effective support and reflection is an innovative approach for middle school students and I also wonder the application of such a network for adult populations or specialized populations, such as teachers.
High School in two years? Eight US states (Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) are set to be apart of a pilot program commencing in the 2011-2012 school year to allow a new track for completing high school. It involves 10 to 20 high schools in each of the states to allow sophomores ready to take college courses to graduate and move onto local community colleges. The National Center on Education and the Economy, proposed the idea in a 2006 report the introduction of a series of board exams covering English, history, math, and science, which, if passed by a student at the end of the 10th grade, would allow them to leave high school. This program aims to cut down on the number of students not ready for college work. Students who don't pass the exams in 10th grade will have the opportunity to take them again in 11th and 12th grades. There is also the option to stay for the full duration of 4 years if students want to attend selective colleges they can stay on a college prep track for the last two years of high school. Concerns with this approach have been voiced, pointing out whether test results, at age 16, are really valid enough to indicate if a child should go to university or instead head to a technical school. The board exam system is being used in several other nations, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Singapore.
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10 years ago
TRADE SCHOOL = 30 DAYS OF CLASSES, CO-WORKING AND BARTERING. I found this great article in GOOD describing a new project called Trade School, opening on the Lower East Side of Manhattan from now until the first of March. There are a range of class offerings from grant writing to making butter, but the interesting thing is that entry into classes is not based on money or talent but it is on meeting the needs of a particular teacher. OurGoods, an online barter network, ...
Searching for information on the internet, as a primary or secondary age student, can be overwhelming based on the amount of results as well as being able to distinguish what sources are valid. If teachers are looking to gain some comfort the sources their students are using for their work such search engine sites as SweetSearch and Study search may be helpful tools! SweetSearch allows students to choose the most relevant result from a list of credible results, without the distraction of unreliable sites. SweetSearch searches only 35,000 Web sites that have been evaluated and approved by a staff of Internet research experts at Dulcinea Media, and its librarian and teacher consultants. StudySearch is a Google project with Australian schools that uses safety filters to modify the search results presented customized Google search engine developed for Australian Primary and Secondary school students. It uses the power of Google's search engine combined with a growing database of educational websites. When a search is done Google checks our database and gives those sites priority in the search results. The student is still doing a full Google search but the results are tuned to display sites that are more relevant. The sites are contributed by Australian teachers, librarians and site volunteers. These sites are selected based on their content and ease of navigation. Anyone is welcome to suggest a site by submitting a form from their website. I wonder based on restrictions some school districts have with websites such as YouTube and Wikipedia, if this approach, may aid in allowing pieces of such content into schools. If schools sign up to accounts using modified search engines for educational content and have content approved by 'experts' or filtered based on predetermined conditions, could there be a way to have proxy sites that include relevant content from restricted sites if deemed useful? Of course restricting a system and defining what educational content is can be problematic in trusting who is able to make decisions as experts. However, searching the internet as a resource of information for students is not going to go away and so defining more useful ways to do so will have educational impacts and offer development opportunities to create more focused information resource systems tailored to students.
11 years ago
Over the past 10 years online learning has taken off. According to the U.S. Department of Education e-learning, or virtual school instruction, is now offered by about 25 percent of all K-12 public schools, it is even required for graduation in Michigan and Alabama. Currently, the results of the poll, 'What Will Online Education Look Like in 20 Years?' featured on Edutopia, shows the majority of people feel that the trend will continue to grow but won't be a mandatory part of school. The poll has spurred further discussion and I strongly agreed with one of the comments made that would reframe the question of the poll to include teachers. I wonder if we can even conceive of what "online" and "virtual" will mean 20 years from now, let alone predict what online and virtual learning environments will look like. Twenty years ago, we barely had a graphics-based Internet. To me, a more interesting question, and resulting responses, would be: What impact will online learning have on you as a teacher a year from now? - Paul Oh
11 years ago
Just wanted to pass along what sounds like will be an interesting free talk: “Why Games are (Good) for Learning” at NYU Feb 17th from 6-7pm. Will Wright, creator of Sim City, The Sims, and Spore just to name a few of his many digital games, will lead a discussion on how digital games support and encourage learning. He comes to the Skirball Center with NYU's Games for Learning Institute which studies the educational use of digital games, and investigates their sociocultural, cognitive and emotional impacts. The Institute develops design patterns for effective educational games that indus...