Archive for the ‘Classroom styles’ Category

College grads in the workplace. Quick with answers but not always looking beyond computer screen

computer (Medium)Another interesting study to mull over today: College graduates understand and excel at Internet grazing, but are less comfortable or familiar with more traditional research methodology, including calling and talking to people, reading annual reports and scouring databases.

This gap is becoming apparent to employers who are impressed with their young hires’ online skills, but also concerned about their lack of more standard research competencies.

According to the “Learning Curve” Project Information Literacy Research Report:

In a world where technology abounds, social networks buzz, and connectivity is as commonplace as electricity, graduates may post their resume on Monster, apply for a few coveted internships they have found on Vault, and hook up with some new housemates on Craigslist. As dating options diminish after college, they may find themselves browsing profiles on But once they settle into a new job, many of today’s graduates soon discover that the …

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ACLU takes on single sex classrooms. Is this a worthwhile fight?

The ACLU is going after two school districts for single-sex classrooms.

Having gone to a single-sex Catholic high school, I see a few benefits to all girl or all boy classes, although most research shows no compelling academic rationale.

As the National Association for Single Sex Public Education notes, the United States Department of Education published regulations governing single-sex education in public schools in 2006. The association has a good primer on legal issues, including updates from two court decisions.

According to the association:

The new regulations allow coeducational public schools (elementary and secondary schools) to offer single-sex classrooms, provided that the schools:

1) provide a rationale for offering a single-gender class in that subject. A variety of rationales are acceptable, e.g. if very few girls have taken computer science in the past, the school could offer a girls-only computer science class;
2) provide a coeducational class in the same …

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Digital natives: Are schools foreign to them?

Dr. Jason Huett

Dr. Jason Huett

Technology guru and University of West Georgia professor Jason B. Huett said a frontier teacher from a century ago popped into today’s modern era would be agape at the changes she saw every place but one — the classroom.

“When she walked into a school, she would immediately know what this is, and she could pretty much swap her prairie dress for a pants suit and go right to work,” said Huett, West Georgia’s associate dean of online development and USG eCore, a multi-institution collaborative where college students can take classes online.

Huett is among the those urging schools to use technology to make schools more relevant, accessible and flexible and less like a prison sentence.

School districts are heeding that advice — to a point.

For example, DeKalb County Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson announced this week that more than 8,200 students at seven middle schools will receive netbooks in the fall loaded with all their textbooks.

“And by August of …

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Teaching history as a trivia contest and neglecting the stories

Former history teacher J. Marcus Patton is writing a book, “History is Story: Reforming the Way Teach and Learn About Ourselves in the Information Age.”

Here is an essay that he wrote: (You can read more by him at his blog.)

By J. Marcus Patton

This year’s debate over charter schools proved one thing – that Georgians want reform in education. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity.

We certainly need school reform that will prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. We need cutting-edge technology for students who live in an increasingly technological age. We need research-based, data-driven policy initiatives in improving education. But in the drive to discover new methods to serve our fast-moving era, we should not forget that human nature is relatively constant.

Thousands of years before televisions or computers or smart phones were conceived, human beings gathered around fires to learn from each other. Curious by nature, intelligent, discerning, …

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Dropout prevention: Gwinnett takes a STEP forward to get overage 8th graders back on track to graduation

The AJC’s Nancy Badertscher has a good story today about Gwinnett’s  STEP program targeting overage eighth graders, who face a very high risk of dropping out of high school.

These students who have fallen behind their peers are put in an accelerated yearlong program with specially trained teachers. Through concerted effort and time, they can get back on track for graduation.

Based on a national model, the program combines classroom and online classes. STEP sound promising and has had strong initial results for Gwinnett students.

Here is an excerpt of Nancy’s story: (Please read the full story before commenting.)

While the district has a 67.6 percent overall high graduation rate, only about 13 percent of its students who enter ninth grade a year or more behind are leaving high school with a diploma. The goal of Gwinnett’s new STEP academies is to get those students back on track to on-time graduation through a compressed, one-year schedule of online and traditional …

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Homework: Doesn’t improve grades but boosts test scores

Since my twins often have an hour or more of homework each night, I found this study out of  Indiana University interesting. This piece comes from IU.

A study led by an Indiana University School of Education faculty member finds little correlation between time spent on homework and better course grades for math and science students, but a positive relationship between homework time and performance on standardized tests.

“When Is Homework Worth the Time?” is a recently published work of Adam Maltese, assistant professor of science education in the IU School of Education, along with co-authors Robert H. Tai, associate professor of science education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, and Xitao Fan, dean of education at the University of Macau.

The authors examined survey and transcript data of more than 18,000 10th-grade students to uncover explanations for academic performance. The data focused on individual classes for students, examining the …

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Georgia Cyber Academy: Is virtual charter ignoring real problems with special ed services?

The last time we discussed Georgia Cyber Academy was in response to parent comments about their significant roles as academic coaches under the online school’s instructional model.

Now, it is the state board of education discussing the state’s first online school, suggesting it will pull its charter if it does not improve services for students with disabilities.

Georgia Cyber Academy is part of K12 Inc., a for-profit company that is the nation’s largest virtual school provider with online public schools in 30 states.

The charter school’s parent company has been garnering headlines lately, many of which have not been flattering, including a scathing investigation by The New York Times.

A report released this summer by the National Education Policy Center found that less than 28 percent of K12-run schools were meeting Adequate Yearly Progress during the 2010-11 school year, compared with 52 percent of brick-and-mortar schools nationwide. Georgia Cyber also did not make AYP in …

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“I don’t love teaching because my job is no longer teaching.”

North Carolina teacher Kris Nielsen wrote a provocative and lengthy essay for his blog Middle Grades Mastery.

It begins:  “I love teaching. Or, I did love teaching. I loved teaching when my job was to teach. Now, I don’t love teaching, because my job is no longer teaching.”

Nielsen began teaching in 2006. He taught sixth grade earth science, writing, “I created my own curriculum, based loosely on the New Mexico state standards. My kids loved it! I kept them busy with hands-on, student centered learning that built vocabulary and concepts along the way.”

Nielsen  moved to Oregon and a job he enjoyed, but was let go after two years when his district slashed 350 jobs to cut costs.

Nielsen chronicles a frustrating job search that led him and his family to move cross country to the vaunted Charlotte-Mecklenburg system. He shares his growing disillusionment with the profession.

Here is an excerpt of his blog. Please try to read the full essay before commenting:

What they didn’t …

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College Board: Rise in students in AP classes accompanied by rise in performance

Earlier this month, I linked to a controversial essay in the Atlantic by a former college professor and high school teacher criticizing Advanced Placement courses.

I introduced the issue by noting that there’s a push under way in Georgia to get more high schools students into AP classes. There is also a debate over whether students fare better taking AP classes at their high schools or taking intro classes at local colleges through dual enrollment

Among the 126 respondents to the entry was Trevor Packer, senior vice president, Advanced Placement and SpringBoard Programs, the College Board.

Because Packer’s comments came late in our discussion, I am pulling them out here for those of you who might have missed them:

By Trevor Packer

The Advanced Placement Program® invites AP® teachers and students to examine multiple sides of an issue — thinking critically, examining evidence, and then arguing with precision and accuracy — and this invitation extends to their views of …

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An invitation from the AJC editor to a pre-k forum Thursday. It’s a great panel. Hope to see you there.

downeyart (Medium)On behalf of Kevin Riley, the editor of the AJC:

Dear Friends:

• Georgia’s Pre-K early childhood education program has been a national model in its 20 years of existence.

• “Where does it go from here?” is a question many are pondering today.

To help answer that question, the AJC is inviting metro Atlantans to an Atlanta Forward community forum on Pre-K sponsored by PNC Bank. Attendance and parking are free, but registration’s required.

PRE-K TURNS 20: WHAT’S NEXT?” takes place Thursday, Oct. 25, from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Georgia Public Broadcasting studios in Midtown. Please join us there.

I’ll be moderating a panel discussion by local and national experts who will discuss in-depth the issues around early childhood learning in this state. For more information and to register, please click here.

This is Maureen again. I just want to add that we have a fantastic panel assembled, including Bright from the Start commissioner Bobby Cagle, noted …

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