Technology is a catalyst for change. If you want to disrupt a classroom full of children or young adults, try handing out an iPad or a Chromebook to each of them. You’ll see lots of activity and excitement, but without solid planning and expectations, much of that energy will be counter-productive. Distractions lurk behind every keystroke, and you can be sure that our 21st Century learners know how to find them.
Getting kids online at home is key to closing the digital divide — and harder than you might think | The Hechinger Report
KENT, WA — As students stream off the schools buses here, the typical end-of-day scene unfolds with a twist.Thrown over the kids’ shoulders are sleek black laptop bags with the name of their district emblazoned on them.As part of an effort to bridge the so-called digital divide – the gap between rich and poor when it comes to access to technology – the Kent School District has for six years given every student a laptop, beginning in seventh grade.But some of these students don’t need to carry the bags home – they can’t get online at home. It’s a problem that more districts are facing as they turn to technology to revolutionize their teaching.
CLINTON, Miss.—When Kelsi Collins was first given a laptop last year at Clinton High School, she hesitated to change from years of reading textbooks and writing assignments by hand to researching topics and typing papers online. It didn’t help that, after she’d ignored teachers’ warnings to back up her work, her computer crashed and she lost ‘everything’ just nine weeks into the school year.Still, within a few months, Collins was hooked.“I use it for absolutely everything,” said Collins, who will start her senior year in August. “I don’t think I could go back to a textbook.”
Can a school district’s technology program lift a rural Alabama town out of poverty? | The Hechinger Report
PIEDMONT, Alabama — For years, Chasity Tucker got frustrated when she tried to use her home computer for schoolwork. The 17-year-old senior at Piedmont High School in this rural northeastern Alabama town said her computer was slow and frequently got viruses. Then, in eighth grade, Tucker received a free laptop through the Piedmont School District as part of a new program.Tucker was immediately hooked. She could use her computer to quickly research topics and complete assignments. When she got to high school, she took an online Spanish class and used her laptop to research new potential careers. When she came across the website for the United States Air Force, she was impressed. She used her computer to look up the recruiter’s phone number, take a practice test and watch videos about her dream job, becoming a dental hygienist for the Air Force, which she will join after graduation in the spring. “If I didn’t have that computer, I probably wouldn’t have joined the Air Force,” Tucker said.
One day, Adam Holman decided he was fed up with trying to cram knowledge into the brains of the high school students he taught. They weren’t grasping the physics he was teaching at the level he knew they were capable of, so he decided to change up his teaching style. It wasn’t that his students didn’t care about achieving — he taught at high performing, affluent schools where students knew they needed high grades to get into good colleges. They argued for every point to make sure their grades were as high as possible, but were they learning?“I felt I had to remove all the barriers I could on my end before I could ask my kids to meet me halfway,” Holman said. The first thing he did was move to standards-based grading. He told his students to show him they’d learned the material, it didn’t matter how long it took them.
If we truly care about preparing kids for life and work success – we need schools to be different. If economic success increasingly means moving away from routine cognitive work, schools need to also move in that direction. If our analog, ink-on-paper information landscapes outside of school have been superseded by environments that are digital and online and hyperconnected and mobile, our information landscapes inside of school also should reflect those shifts. If our students’ extracurricular learning opportunities often are richer and deeper than what they experience in their formal educational settings, it is time for us to catch up. In other words, schools’ knowledge work and workforce preparation should match the needs and demands of our time.
New Hampshire is the first state to change its education policies to credit high school students — and soon elementary and middle school students, too — for progressing based on what they’ve mastered, not the number of hours they spend in school. Known as a competency-based system, the idea is to define the core skills and concepts students should master and only move them forward once they’ve achieved mastery of every competency rather than their “seat time.”In traditional schools, students progress if their average grade is high enough, which may leave room for holes in their understanding of concepts they’ll need in future classes. In the most alternative application of a competency-based system, age-based grade levels would disappear and students would move through concepts at their own pace, regardless of age or grade.
What do today’s students really need to learn in order to succeed, not only in the classroom but also later on in college, careers, and as engaged citizens?Much of American education policy focuses on the need for students to develop deeper content knowledge and an ability to apply their knowledge and skills to tasks and situations inside and outside of school. The Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards reflect this dual focus on academic learning and real-world application.
Academic knowledge and skills alone won”t enable studet to successfully navigate a rapidly changing world, participate in a complex and increasingly diverse democracy, or engage fully in the ever-evolving 21st century workplace.
This combination of (1) a deeper understanding of core academic content, (2) the ability to apply that understanding to novel problems and situations, and (3) the development of a range of competencies, including people skills and self-control, is called “deeper learning.”
Project-based learning for mastery of core academic content and critical thinking skills. Internship opportunities to develop connections to the real world. Group work and long-term assessments such as portfolios and exhibitions to develop collaboration and communication skills. Study groups and student participation in decision making to help develop academic mindsets and support learning how to learn.
In no case, does this report support the kind and level of testing prevalent in today’s schools. In no case, does this report support any of the reform efforts attributed to the Gates Foundation, Pearson, the Koch brothers, the Walton family etc.
Am I the only one that does the research and reads ALL of the sides regarding Common Core. I suppose those who work within public schools have no other option but to support it. Afterall, their livelihood depends upon it and they have indeed done the hard work that our Superintendent of Education says they have. On the other hand, we have a governor and his sidekick who really don’t know squat about education stating things like we don’t support our own Dept. of Education, that Common Core is a federal overreach, etc. That’ just pandering to the hands that keep them in office. Their statements are almost laughable if it weren’t that so many of our kids futures are at stake. I suppose they get away with it because none of their support has kids in public schools. To oppose CC purely on reasons supported by educational research and knowledge based on long known facts about our state is called a denigration of Common Core by some. So if your interested at all in what I’ve said, take a look at this excellent article.
Research has shown that low-income families have access to fewer and less-resourced schools, libraries, community centers, and other organizations that make up their network of learning opportunities,” according to the report. “Further, the broadband infrastructure connecting them is likely to be weaker.”Tepe said efforts to address inequities are fragmented, with federal, state and local governments focusing on their own concerns, rather than working together based on a common understanding. Fragmentation also occurs across learning levels, such as preschool, K-12 school, and higher education, she said. When communities can see a picture, “they take responsibility and fill in the gaps,” she said.