Monday, March 31, 2008

An Obituary for Newspapers

What is the future of newspapers in the age of Internet? Do you still read the newspaper in print form? How will newspaper reading change in the future and what might be the implications for teaching? Check out this article in the March 31, 2008 edition of The New Yorker, “Out of Print: The Death and Life of the Newspaper.” The usual New Yorker cartoon is included. After reading the article, post your comments about where the institution of the newspaper is heading for the future and what all this might mean for other print media, such as magazines? How might our reading habits change as more and more print media transfer to an online format? How will the process of reading itself change? Be sure to respond. This is a critical topic we all need to think about as the newer generations increasingly move away from traditional print sources. The article reports that as of May 2004, newspapers have become the least favorite source of information among the young generation. As educators, we just can’t ignore this topic of reliance on the Internet for news and how this information is accessed and read. So, let’s hear from all of you!
Image is from the article itself found by using the above link.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

How Literacy Has Changed!

Literacy no longer means reading and writing, according to the National Council of Teacher of English (NCTE), who has formulated a new definition of literacy. Check out the organization’s definition of literacy, and post your reactions to the definition. Here is the URL to access the definition from the NCTE site.

A Sample Wiki for Science Education

Check out this Heartlandscience wiki for a wealth of information. Take some time to explore, and let us know your response.

Image is from the Heartlandscience wiki front page.

Engaging Students in Science Education

Check out how one school is using the Kinetic City website to engage students in learning science. Though the after-school program is intended for students in grades 3-5, the program speaks to the need to strengthen the ways in which we teach science to students in all grades. In addition to checking out how this one school is using the Kinetic City website, click on the link in the article to access the Kinetic City site. Post your comments about what you think of the school program as well as the website. While reading the article, note also the link to the Benchmarks for Science Literacy. You might click on that link for further details. We look forward to your comments.

Image from

What is STEM, and Why is it Important?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. As you might have guessed, tremendous pressure to increase students’ skills in all of these areas exists. Recently, a Technology Counts 2008 report was released. This report contained broad information about how students in the United States are performing as well as links to detailed state-by-state reports. I am providing the link to the Connecticut state report for your review. As a teacher or future teacher in Connecticut, you should be aware of where our students stand in terms of STEM and what the implications are for the future. Check the report, and post your comments. I am also providing in the second link access to the main report.

Connecticut: Technology Counts, 2008 STEM Report

Education Week: Technology Counts Report Main Page
Image is from the Education Week article, March 28, 2008, accessible from the link above.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Probeware Changes Science Curriculum

Results are in: students using probeware in their science classes are outpacing peers on standardized test. What is more, companies are donating the equipment to schools to spread the word of the value of probeware to enhance the teaching of science. To learn more about the state of the arts with probeware, check this Education Week article that ran on March 24, 2008. Be sure to post your comments about where you see the teaching of science heading and whether you believe new technology will revolutionize the teaching of this discipline and contribute to student engagement with it.

Image is taken from the article itself, found through the link above and is offered courtesy of PASCO scientific, a maker of probeware.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tips for Teaching with Computer Technology

Follow the link below for a helpful article that will offer you a range of ideas for managing computer use in your classroom. The tips range the gamut from curriculum suggestions to classroom management tricks. Let us know what you find useful in the article. There are 33 tips offered, so happy hunting. The information is provided from Education World, a generally useful website for teachers, chock full of resources.

Clip art image is directly from the article, “Managing Technology, Tips from the Experts”

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why Teachers Should Have Blog Sites

Edublog, a blog hosting site, names 10 reasons for teachers to have a blog site. Review the suggestions provided, and post your responses after considering the implications of the 10 suggestions. Here is the URL to access the information:

Do Computers Belong in Children's Rooms?

Although not directly to school use of computers, an article, “Computers Should Be Kept out of Kid’s Rooms,” also leads to the question of where to best place computers in the school setting. Refer to the article that appeared in a British publication on the results of a finding about where to keep computers in the home. Post your comments about where you believe computers are best kept in both the home and school, and why. Here is the direct link to the article for your review:

Photo is from

Friday, March 14, 2008

Who Are Our Kids Today?

Check out the Salon online article, “What's the Matter With Kids Today?” with its subtext: “Nothing, actually. Aside from our panic that the Internet is melting their brains.” That title and comment alone should pique your interest.

The article's author, Amy Goldwasser, writes of kids today:

“...they choose to write about themselves, on their own time, rather than its being a forced labor when a paper's due in school. Regularly, often late at night, they're generating a body of intimate written work. They appreciate the value of a good story and the power of a speech that moves: Ninety-seven percent of the teenagers in the Common Core survey connected 'I have a dream' with its speaker -- they can watch Dr. King deliver it on demand -- and eight in 10 knew what 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is about.”

“This is, of course, the kind of knowledge we should be encouraging. The Internet has turned teenagers into honest documentarians of their own lives -- reporters embedded in their homes, their schools, their own heads.”

She adds we need to stop fearing that the Internet is the downfall of literacy skills. To the contray, she contends kids' online lives are making the next generation more literate than any other, noting:

“Teenagers today read and write for fun; it's part of their social lives. We need to start celebrating this unprecedented surge, incorporating it as an educational tool instead of meeting it with punishing pop quizzes and suspicion.”

As educators, we need to ponder the ideas that Goldwasser covers in her piece. Pay particular attention to her admonitions to her adult audience to accept the digital world's potential to have extraordinary positive effects on promoting literacy.

Check out her full article, and please leave a comment.

Imaga contribution

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How To's

Here are some fast links for finding information off my website. Note some of these links will take you to a PowerPoint with directions and some will take you to a simple web page with directions. I have provided links for information on How To’s for PowerPoint and How To’s for website work. Take some time to explore what you need to learn over the two-week break. I also have a link to information on the annotated list of websites component of the website project, and it certainly is not too early to start that component. You don’t want to wait until the last minute!

How To’s PowerPoint

PowerPoint: How to Do Dimming
PowerPoint: How to Create a Hyperlink
PowerPoint: Custom Animations and Effects Options
PowerPoint: How to Create Transitions
PowerPoint: How to Do Dimming
PowerPoint: How to Create a Hyperlink
PowerPoint: Custom Animations and Effects Options

How To’s Website

PowerPoint on Website Tips
Tips for Annotated List of Websites
Tips on Using Tables to Control Layouts
Tips on Inserting Clip Art, Pictures, and Setting Up a Picture Folder
Tips on Inserting Backgrounds

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why We Teach?

Many of you have already acknowledged that you did not enter the teaching profession for the salary. But how does an annual salary of $125,000 sound? A new magnet slated to open in 2009 will be paying its teachers just that, and the principal will earn $90,000, with the goal of one day being promoted to teacher.

The initiative is based on the theory that what really matters in a child’s education is the teacher! The goal is to attract the most qualified and brightest teachers in the nation.

The school will serve the middle grades, 5 through 8. All students must take two courses: Latin and music! Class size will be 30.

Okay, where is this school? It is in New York City's Washington Heights. The principal has already been selected. Recruitment of teachers is in process. Even if you are not interested in relocating to the Big Apple, do you think paying teachers over $100,000 is the best way to achieve excellence in education? Will expert teachers be able to significantly improve students' scholastic skills?

To read more about this innovative school, click on the link below, and also check the credentials sought in the school's teachers. Be sure to post your responses.

Information based on New York Times, March 7, 2008 article written by Elissa Gootman, “Charter Schools, Higher Pay.” Photo of Zeke M. Vanderhoek, creator of a charter school, due to open in 2009. Photo by Marilyn K. Yee of New York Times

Click on the hyperlink for the story.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Free Press Case in Connecticut

A major Connecticut free speech case related to Internet usage has gone to a U.S. Supreme Court Appeals Circuit Court. The question at issue is the school’s responsibility to trespass into students' Internet usage off school grounds but related to the school setting.

As you probaly already know, a student from Burlington, Connecticut’s Lewis Mills High School, Avery Doninger, a senior, posted negative comments about school administrators on her personal blog ( weblog). The school’s principal, henceforth, barred Doninger from serving on the school’s student council, wherein she was elected secretary, and from speaking at her upcoming graduation ceremony. Doninger herself gave testimony at a US Supreme Court hearing. (Talk about a real-life education experiences in social studies and public rhetoric!)

The case centers on First Amendment rights as well as a public school's right to control student expression off school grounds. In this case, the posting on the Internet was from the student's personal account and done on her own computer. Although Doninger used her personal computer, because the comments were made public and derogotray of school administrators, they believed they had the right to impose school-based sanctions.

In such a case, do you believe the school system has a right to impose penalties? Furthermore, as students increasingly use the Internet as a public forum, what rights should schools have regarding any information students posts about their own schools? Do you think school administrators should be able to seek retribution through punitive measures when students post comments off school grounds using their own computer?

To read more about the Burlington case and similar situations, check this March 5, 2008 Hartford Courant front page article.
Court Looks at Internet Limits,0,3846137.story

source: "Court Looks At Internet Limits" By ARIELLE LEVIN BECKER Courant Staff Writer March 5, 2008 NEW YORK — photo of school

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

When Virtual Teachers Surpass Real Teachers

Despite fears that computer might replace teachers, some applications of virtual teachers have been found to help students with autism and specific kinds of language impairments. In addition, these virtual tutors have advanced the students' social skills. In fact, a virtual teacher, in the form of a virtual child, cartoon-character, has assisted autistic children in staying on task.

Virtual teachers are also being used to work with children with reading disabilities as well as second language learners. Children with hearing impairments have benefited as well .

Check this MSNBC report to learn more and post your comments.

Photo credit: The ArticuLab, Northwestern University with the note:
“A ‘virtual child’ is a cartoon about the size of an 8-year-old with whom kids can learn and play on the floor with toys via a plasma screen projection.”

Legal Guns in Schools

As guns find their way into schools, one Arizona legislator successfully campaigned for schools themselves to be armed with guns. State Senator Karen S. Johnson lobbied for students and teachers to bring guns into schools for self-defense. She claims that the massacre at Northern Illinois University could have been averted if the professor in the class or a student had a gun to shoot down the assassin.

Using this rationale, other lawmakers have taken heed. Although her proposals have not gained wide support for K-12, as she initially also intended, the thought has been seriously bantered around for higher education campuses.

This is not a story reported in the media as a sensational ploy. Rather today, March 5, 2008, The New York Times and other national newspapers carried the Arizona story and a photo of the gun lobby sponsor.

The proposal is gaining support and was passed by a state committee last week by a vote of 4 to 3. Arizona is also the state where in 2002, a nursing student failing courses shot and killed three professors. If one of them had a gun, could all have been saved?

Arizona is not alone; 15 other states have similar legislature pending allowing guns to bring borught into the school setting for self-defense. To read more about this story, use think link toi access the article that appeared in The New York Times, covered by reporter Randal C. Archibold.
Photo of State Senator Karen S. Johnson of Arizona, sponsor of legislature for firearms on school campuses; photo credit to: Jeff Topping,The New York Times

Be sure to post your comments on this pending bill related to combatting violence perpetuated by students bringing guns to the school with the intent to bring harm to others.

Pay for Grades

Imagine that as a teacher you receive a $3,000 bonus if your students score well on state exams, and students themselves who excel get a $50 prize. Will monetary awards lead to better test scores? Apparently, some administrators in the New York City School System believe so, and they are offering these bonuses to teachers and students alike. The New York Times reported in a front-page story, March 5, 2000, “Next Question: Can Students Be Paid to Excel?” over 5,000 students in 58 schools this year alone were awarded bonuses, for a grand total of $500,000 in pay outs. Private donors, not taxpayers dollars, fund the rewards program.

Students recipients claimed the incentive pushed them to learn the requisite skills to do well. Even teachers initially reluctant about the concept have gleefully accepted the cash bonuses. For details on the program and what other school systems around the country are doing to reward students who excel on standardized test, check this article:

How would you feel about receiving a monetary reward if your students excellend on a state exam? What about monetary or similar rewards for students? Post your comments.

Photo credit: Annie Tritt for The New York Times

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