Note: I am pro-MOOCs. I am pro-charter, magnet, private, and online schools and alternative forms of education. I am pro-flipped classrooms and tech integration. I do NOT, however, suggest that any one of these is a perfect solution or the best fit for every situation. Additionally, I do not believe in pursuing any of these initiatives at the expense of the teachers or the students. I do not think mass-privatization is a good idea or that improved standards will necessarily change anything. I believe we need to provide a full, rich education for all students that includes support services as needed so that every child has as equal an opportunity as we can provide. This is a disgustingly middle-of-the-road position, but it’s mine.
In addition to forcing educators to teach too much too early, the current Tougher Standards craze has likewise emphasized a vertical rationale – in part because of its reliance on testing. Here, too, we find that “getting them ready” is sufficient reason for doing what would otherwise be seen as unreasonable. […]
But the issue here isn’t just preparation — it’s preparation for what is unappealing. More than once, after proposing that students should participate in developing an engaging curriculum, I have been huffily informed that life isn’t always interesting and kids had better learn to deal with that fact. The implication of this response seems to be that the goal of schooling is not to nourish children’s excitement about learning but to get them acclimated to doing mind-numbing chores. […]
But people don’t really get better at coping with unhappiness because they were deliberately made unhappy when they were young. In fact, it is experience with success and unconditional acceptance that helps one to deal constructively with later deprivation. Imposing competition or standardized tests or homework on children just because other people will do the same to them when they’re older is about as sensible as saying that, because there are lots of carcinogens in the environment, we should feed kids as many cancer-causing agents as possible while they’re small to get them ready. […]
“You’d better get used to it” not only assumes that life is pretty unpleasant, but that we ought not to bother trying to change the things that make it unpleasant. Rather than working to improve our schools, or other institutions, we should just get students ready for whatever is to come. Thus, a middle school whose primary mission is to prepare students for a dysfunctional high school environment soon comes to resemble that high school. Not only does the middle school fail to live up to its potential, but an opportunity has been lost to create a constituency for better secondary education. Likewise, when an entire generation comes to regard rewards and punishments, or rating and ranking, as “the way life works,” rather than as practices that happen to define our society at this moment in history, their critical sensibilities are stillborn. Debatable policies are never debated. BGUTI becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
(1) The online courses force professors to consider their material in a new context and approach it as an interactive web site/page/series, rather than as a series of lectures and discussions.
(2) The online courses also emphasize the importance of student community and work ethic.
(3) While MOOCs are not the first online college course options, they are the option that has finally kickstart the conversation and gotten people to seriously discuss how people learn, the strengths and weaknesses of the internet and an online course, the future of the lecture hall course, and the importance of college access in rural areas. These are important conversations to be having.
(4) The MOOCs also open the conversation of accreditation Many MOOCs do not offer college credit, but instead give certificates that are applicable to that class only. What is actually necessary to demonstrate one’s learning? Is a college degree most important, or should people gain certificates only in the courses applicable to their needs? What really is the current and future worth of a college degree and traditional liberal arts course load? Again, these are important conversations to be having.
(5) MOOCs can increase college access, so long as the various populations have internet access. At the very least, they can open the conversation about who does and does not have college access, who “deserves” it, and whether or not an online course really counts as access. It also opens the question of why people attend college.
Even if MOOCs prove a fad, their existence now may still help our colleges and universities improve by popularizing discussions on how people learn, access an education, and demonstrate their knowledge.
“My first two years teaching in New York City, I worked at an exemplary “lean” high school. This school twice received “A” ratings on its progress reports from the Department of Education, and it was rated “well developed” (the highest possible rating) in a 2011 quality review. Curiously, my former school’s stellar ratings were awarded despite its poor academic record, itself a matter of public record. […] Basically, my principal was being lauded for putting teachers on lots of different teams and giving those teams lots of responsibilities. […] School managers promote teams as empowering for teachers; according to management, they give teachers a say in how their schools are run. In reality, these meetings highlight how little control teachers have over their time and workload at lean schools. […] Teachers at lean schools are stretched to their limits. This is not an accident. The team concept both increases stress on the workforce and creates the illusion that workers themselves are responsible for this stress.” ~Will Johnson
This video uses Chicago teachers, CTU employees, and students (former and current) to explain the teacher-side in the strike. They lay out the issues and what the union is hoping to get for the teachers. Several of their solutions involve increasing the presence and voice of teachers, parents, students, and people who study/etc education in the decisions and decision-making processes that affect schools. Anyway, it is an interesting video and worth watching if you’ve been wondering why the teachers in Chicago are striking.
This bit of absurdity was administered to 8th grade students in New York as part of their yearly state assessment. The story is a nonsense tale masquerading as an Aesop with a moral that has driven many to exasperation (though might, in sentiment, be familiar to fans of Going Postal and similar stories). Google will yield several articles on the subject and the going hashtags on Twitter are #pineapplerebellion and #pineapplegate.
And for the sake of curiosity—which animal do you think said the wisest thing?
To add to the list of bad moments for spit-take: while at work & drinking hot tea
Tools are not solutions. Tools help create solutions, but they are not solutions in of themselves. Tools—information, data, new standards, assessments—help; they do not fix. (A hammer does not hang a picture. A person with a nail, a wall space, a picture to hang, and the know-how of banging the hammer on the nail to create the space/opportunity for a hung picture hangs a picture.)
Grooveshark can’t possibly be legal.
http://cse.ucla.edu/products/guidebooks/rp10.pdf page 6. I realize this was written for a younger audience, but I think it might be a useful tool for writers before they send off stories to a beta/etc. I kinda want to create my own rubric now…
So I could addicted to “Anna Sun” easily.
Don’t tell me the bloody instrument is listed in Meece et al., because it isn’t. I’ve bloody well read Meece et. al. If the instrument had been there, I would not still be searching. Grr.
A brief walk is nice. Especially when certain articles are not being cooperative.
Does anyone else have a problem with Pandora assuming you like songs for the wrong reason? Is there any way to make them stop assuming I like slow songs? I’ve tried the thumbs up/down, but after a while it becomes really, really frustrating and annoying.
I am doubting my ability to get this task done before I get to go home. Bleh.
Beneath the mountains and long, sweeping steppes, the air grew thick and moist. Vines and bright pink and purple flowers overgrew the roads, despite being frequently and obviously trampled and cut back. In the late afternoon, rain happened. The transition from from the overly warm humidity to just-as-warm downpour was instantaneous. Tasmid pushed his hair back away from his forehead and eyes and wondered how anyone could ever willingly live in such a place.
…oh, Pandora. Emo is the exact opposite of what I want. *headdesk*