Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Scanning Books:

Two librarians discuss their divergent opinions on Google's plan to digitize millions of books and what it means for the future of libraries: The Chronicle: 6/3/2005: One College Librarian Worries About 'Atomizing' Books ... While Another Cheers the Project On (NOTE: You have to be a Chronicle subscriber to use the online service. Check with your library to see if they have a subscription.)

Why Rural Matters 2005: From theRural School and Community Trust, a report about the state of rural education in each of the 50 states. According to the report, while primarily rural states focus on the issues of rural schools, more urban states often do not even when the number of rural students exceeds those in urban schools.

From the Virginian Pilot, an article about the Virginia Board of Education's plans for testing teachers: Prospective teachers might have to take literacy test (HamptonRoads.com/Pilot Online): "Prospective teachers in Virginia may have to pass a new college-level literacy test – heavy on communications skills and writing, but no math.

Under proposed licensing changes being considered by the Virginia Board of Education, teaching candidates still would have to pass the Praxis II, a standardized test on the subject matter they would teach, too. And they would be able to work only one year under a provisional license before they must pass the tests."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

According to The Washington Post, one of the unintended consequences of high-stakes testing as well as the push for AP classes is that students no longer have time for pleasure reading! I love nothing more than spending an afternoon with a book and I hate to think that kids give it up at such a young age. My middle school had an Accelerated Reader program that included 25 minutes of silent reading four times a week with students picking their own books. It was wonderful and I think helped kids see how reading could be just relaxing and fun. If you have kids, take them to the library this afternoon!
Odds Stacked Against Pleasure Reading

The Dark Side of Technology:

Argus Leader - News: "Although cheating is nothing new, these days Sioux Falls high school students can attack semester tests with an arsenal of high-tech gadgets. And many of them were unavailable just a few semesters ago. Everything from iPods to cell phones and graphing calculators are in the backpacks of the city's 6,000 public high school students. And the personal devices can be used to simplify cheating."

Friday, May 06, 2005

What a great resource! Selections from six decades of The Paris Review's interviews including sample manuscript pages. Full interviews are available through the 70s. Be prepared to take some time to browse and read: The Paris Review - Interviews

Schools in the UK are trying to use the Internet to increase school/home connections: BBC NEWS | Education | Parents' online access to school

Here's a program that uses Leappads to teach English to second-language learners in the workforce: Sodexho USA Launches Comprehensive English as a Second Language Assistance Program

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A link to a review of The Death and Life of Charlie McCloud. http://www.simplykaren.org/wordpress/wp-trackback.php/47

It's National Teacher Day!! NEA: National Teacher Day

Just for fun! I've been studying so hard, I haven't kept up with the Internet much so I missed this in March. craigslist, an online community bulletin board/discussion/dating service and more, beamed over 24 million words and pictures into deep space as part of the launch of the new Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellite. So, now extraterrestrials will know that someone is selling a bicycle! craigslist launch 0.9

If you don't know about craigslist, you can check out the listings for Richmond here. And, Paul Rademacher is combining the craigslist real estate listing with Google maps to make a pretty neat interface. If you're feeling a little tired and stuck at your desk, go ahead and click on Miami's listings. You can dream, can't you?

So, what did I learn in my curriculum class this past semester? That there are many differing viewpoints about the ultimate goals of education. Today's ASCD SmartBrief highlights three articles that get at just that issue.

The first, from the Los Angeles Times, deals with Superintendent Roy Romer's suggestion that all students in his school division take the 15 credits required for the college prep curriculum. Should everyone at least be prepared to go to college? Or, as his critics point out, will that type of curriculum lead to higher dropout rates? You'll need a free registration to read the story.

From the Washington Post, a story detailing Maryland's special education teachers' frustrations with the new alternative test. Too much time preparing for the test takes away from the time that these teachers say could be spent preparing their students for life outside of school. You'll need a free registration to read the story.

Finally, from National Public Radio, a story focusing on the Met Schools, also known as Big Picture schools, where students find their passions and pursue them. No grades, no tests; instead, students work on internships and create projects related ot their learning. You can read about the schools or listen to the original radio broadcast.