Blog Response #5

Title of Post: That They Should Wear Our Colors There...


"My state is re-examining graduation standards. So who are they talking to?

Business. Not exclusively, but in large numbers.

Business is telling the state what they need for their workforce.

My job as a principal is not to prepare kids to be a workforce. My calling is higher than that.

Citizenry is the higher calling. Workforce development is secondary."


My Response:  Great Post!  I agree that it is not our job as educators, or future educators in my case, to prepare our students strictly for the business world.  It is our job to prepare them to be better people and be able to contribute to the world as a whole, not just the business.  However, by having businesses so actively involved in setting testing and graduation standards we are keeping the businesses' interests at the forefront, and simply training our students to become part of the workforce.  This needs to change!


Blog Response #4

Title of Post: Standardization, Accountability and the Ethic of Care


"For those kids who show up every day, but can't seem to find the way to overcome their own lives to do the work of our classes, doesn't our moral obligation require us to see the limits in our units, in our structure, in ourselves, so that we can change what we do to help those kids who want it?

For some reason, as I thought about this blog entry, I kept thinking of the part of the Passover Seder that deals with The Four Sons. The four sons are the wise son, the contrary son, the simple son and the son who does not know how to -- or cannot -- ask the question. I think our schools know how to deal with the first three sons. I don't think we know how to deal with the fourth.

For those students who cannot ask the question... for whom the entire game of school seems like a maze where success is both not fathomable and also difficult to understand the benefits... I think we have an obligation to find a way to take them by the hand and help them find success. I don't worry that our other students will be angry that we "make exceptions" or that they will think it is not "fair" that some students pursue a different curriculum to be able to pass. I think the ethic of care suggests that there are times when we know that what we do for 99% of our students does not work for the last 1% of our kids, no matter what we do."


My Response:  First of all, great post!  As student who grew up in a pretty well off, rural community, it is hard for me to imagine the difficulties that many inner city youths face everyday.  As I have began doing observations in more of an urban setting, I have seen a few students that I know are trying the best they can, but cannot see how learning about Shakespeare is going to help them find a meal that night.  However, I do agree that it is our obligation as educators to find ways to connect to these students, even if we do have to design a curriculum that may not seem "fair" to other students. 


Blog Response #3

Title of post: Supplementing My Kids' Education


But this year, Wendy and a friend of ours who is home-schooling her kids have started supplementing their public school education in some more "formal" ways. Every Tuesday afternoon for about an hour, my wife's office turns into a classroom where my kids are making wikis, learning about searching, and creating stories around whatever their interest is. And they're being shown some ways in which technology can be used to connect, as in the picture above. (Click on it to see a more viewable size.) A couple of weeks ago, Steve Hargadon made a guest appearance using Skype to help them identify what they might want to work on in terms of projects. And there are plans to invite other people in to speak to them and help guide their work. (Let me know if you want to volunteer!) Real people, real work, real audiences.

My Response:

I think it is great what you and your wife are doing for your children's "education."  While some schools have already have already started started incorporating 21st Century technology into their classrooms, the amount is still in the great minority.  As a future educator it is troubling to me why more schools are not furthering their students preparation for the real world and having them getting accustomed to the technology available, as you and your wife are doing for your children.


Blog Response #2

Title of post: Reality EduTV and Open Second Life


 This weekend I saw the future. Not that it's the long term future by any stretch since things seem to be moving at warp speed anyway. But there were a couple of technologies on display at the "New Media Literacies in Learning Landscapes Conference" in Charlottetown, PEI that had me feeling like that giddy little geek that sometimes pops up when everything around me is feeling new again.

The first isn't really all that "new", but it was the first time I'd taken part in a live video stream of one of my presentations thanks to Jeff Lebow of (and who was there to record the proceedings. I should say that on Friday when I gave a short tech pep talk to a group of about 50 7th graders who are embarking on a most excellent online archiving project about PEI, it was very cool to tell them that folks from as far away as Australia and Abu Dhabi  were watching us live....

My Response:

I agree it is amazing what new technologies such as uStream and Second Life are doing in the world of education.  As a current college student in education, this is the first semester where I have had a professor incorporate technologies such as these into the classroom.  The exciting thing is the best is yet to come.  The days of students of being taught by one educator in the front of the classroom are coming to an end.  Now we have the capabilities for students to learn from hundreds of the best teachers throughout the world, without having to leave the classroom.


Blog Response #1

Title of post: Motivation is not the problem


Tim Fredrick, in Motivation is not the problem, writes about an article in the NY Times about a "pay-for-grades" program being implemented in NYC.  He writes "What strikes me about this program is that it is a solution to the wrong problem.  This (in addition to merit pay for teachers) implies that motivation is the problem in our schools.  The students aren't motivated, so let's pay 'em.  The teachers aren't motivated, so let's pay 'em more."

My Response:

While money may temporarily induce students to learn, the motivation is only going to last if it comes from within the student and teacher.  As a current student in Education, I feel the best way to motivate students is to tie the material with the real-world and how it can help the students in life.  These type of classes do a better job of educating students with more useful knowledge than traditional those whose sole goal is to boost useless, standardized test scores.

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