Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Madera Co. high school a model of the future

By Chris Collins / The Fresno Bee

O'NEALS -- Outside the high school library, a student carrying a camera grabbed Principal Michael Niehoff's attention. "Give me your game face," he said before snapping a picture.

Minutes later, the principal's photo -- his face scrunched and lips pursed -- had been uploaded onto a computer, posted onto an ad for a staff-versus-student basketball game, and broadcast on big screen TVs throughout this tiny, tech-savvy campus in Madera County's foothills.

This is Minarets High -- the county's newest high school and a model for what public education might look like in the future.

Here, every student gets a laptop. Classes are focused on group projects instead of homework and lectures. After school, students and teachers text each other and use online tools to complete assignments. The library, called the media lounge, is furnished like a coffee shop with large windows and couches. The books are packed in a few rows of shelves in a corner.

In PE class, students ride mountain bikes on nearby trails or jump over classmates in team-building exercises. When teachers go to conferences, they take students with them to help with presentations. And almost every student has a laminated profile posted in the school hallways. It features their name, age, interests -- and GPA.

Read More: http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/03/27/1875524/new-valley-school-a-model-of-the.html

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Science of Making Up Stuff

Lily's Blackboard: March 17, 2010

I took a deep, cleansing yoga breath and watched some panel of puny pontificators, who have never stepped in front of a class of 36 hormonally-challenged 7th grade unconscientious objectors to homework, sanctimoniously agree amongst themselves that the only problem with schools these days is:Bad Teachers.

Good Teachers have no problems. So. When there were problems, it must because of: Bad Teachers. I took another yoga breath, threw a pillow at the TV and screamed my best ten potty words. Namaste.

Schools are the current topic of conversation because it’s time to reauthorize the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which provides modest federal education funding for children disadvantaged by poverty, discrimination, disability and language barriers. A Good Thing.

Read More: http://lilysblackboard.org/2010/03/nclb-science-of-making-up-stuff/

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Follett Higher Education Group Announces Online Textbook Rental for Independent Bookstores

Newly signed partnership with BookRenter brings together state-of-the-art textbook rental technology with the world’s largest wholesaler of used and new college textbooks

Oak Brook, IL (PRWEB) March 15, 2010 -- Follett is launching two new college textbook rental programs for independent bookstores: an online affiliate program powered by BookRenter’s technology platform and an in-store rental support program.

By partnering with BookRenter, Follett becomes the nation’s first and only textbook wholesaler to offer rental through a customizable online storefront. Simple to implement, Follett’s online affiliate program provides students access to millions of rental titles, enhances bookstore competitiveness and adds to bookstore revenues - without adding operational complexities.

“Independently-managed college bookstores are seeking ways to stay competitive and better serve their customers,” said Thomas A. Christopher, President of Follett Higher Education Group. “Our unique rental offerings provide access to cutting-edge technology and Follett’s best-in-class resources to help students save millions of dollars on higher education costs.”

Read More: http://www.prweb.com/releases/Textbook/Rental/prweb3730804.htm

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Draft Standard for Education K-12 has been developed -

A Draft Standard for Education  K-12 has been developed -


to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.

The criteria that we used to develop the college- and career-readiness standards, as well as these K-12 grade level standards are:

 Aligned with college and work expectations;
 Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;

 Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;

 Informed by top-performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and,

 Evidence and/or research-based.
This is a state-led effort coordinated by the
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Why don’t they take THE BEST Teacher for EACH subject, and Videotape their class.
Then, play the video in EVERY CLASS ROOM, for that subject, in the state, and on PBS.

As an example, let’s use Freshman High School English.

Make Each Video 30 minutes. 
The video would be played at the Beginning of each class 
and the Remainder of the class time would be used for an 
IN CLASS teacher to discuss the tape, and answer questions.  
If a Student missed a class, they would be REQUIRED to watch those tapes.  
That way EVERY student of Freshman English, in EVERY school in NV would get the same information.
We need to improve ALL Public Schools

In this country - education is compulsory - learning is optional

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Ultimate Responsibility of Parents

By Anthony Pellegrino

March 13, 2010

As you read this article, recall when we were sixteen or seventeen years old, young, healthy, and full of cockiness. Life was a bowl of cherries. We felt that we would live forever and do anything we wanted. Some of us dropped out of high school because we already knew everything. Why finish high school? The rest of us who stayed in high school were happy that it was about to end. We’d get a high paying job or go to college. We had it made.

We never heard the high school graduation speaker say that this is “not a graduation but a commencement.” A few of us headed for college; many of us headed for government jobs, and the rest of us just decided to drift—no skills, no jobs. But slowly the strain of the years began to wear on us. We became adults. We began to question whether we had made the right decision with our life. Are we happy and satisfied with what we have accomplished since those youthful days? Are we doing well or are we disappointed with our decisions and the path we have traveled? We know we messed up, but we feel it is too late to change

What if someone who loved us—a parent, a relative, a teacher—someone—had sat down with us and had helped us chart a course from adolescence to adulthood, would we be successful? What if we had had a strong, guiding hand that directed us to go to college or learn a skill, would we be better-off? Think back did anyone motivate us? Or were we left alone to drift and find our own lonely way?

I am referring to the futures of our children who are sixteen or seventeen. Are making the same decisions we had to at their ages? Do we assume our responsibility to them and motivate them properly?

As we continue to recollect our youth, once filled with exuberance and promises, is our path the same path we want our children to follow? Do we tell them that the life we are living is the best? Have our dreams have been fulfilled?

If we are truthful, we will tell them that we wish we had had someone who could have guided us? If only our parents, a teacher or someone who was interested in us would have sat down and told us with us that you need an education or learn a trade.

In a few months, many seniors will be graduating from high schools, and over fifty percent will drift along without a plan or goal. What will be their future and the future of our country since they will be replacing us? Are we going to let them make major decisions without any guidance at such a young age which will affect their entire life?

I recall my personal life when I graduated from high school. At eighteen I wanted to go into the entertainment industry in New York City. I was definitely not going to go to college.

After pleading with my father, he agreed to let me go. However he made deal with me. If I would attend a barber school in New York City and learn barbering while trying to break into show business, he would help me. He said if in my first love, I could still get a good paying job.

After two long years of trying to become an entertainer, I realized that I didn’t have the necessary talent but, I did earn a barber license. Upon returning home defeated, I decided to go to college. I finally realized I wasn’t so smart after all. As a result, I became a barber and attended college at the same time. How I bless my father for pushing me to learn a trade that carried me over hard times when I was young. I was fortunate to have wonderfully devoted parents. My father had worked hard all his life and had experienced what it meant to be person without a skill or trade. Coming from Sicily, he was very poor in English and could barely read and write. He insisted that I learn a profession to get a decent paying job.

Just to feed and clothe them is not enough. We must feed their minds and souls just as we feed their stomachs. We, parents, must insist that our children better themselves. We must instill a sense of drive and ambition to better themselves. It is my and your responsibility that we insist that they exceed us. Together with our children we must plan the major decisions that will lead them from youth to adulthood. We must lead them down roads carefully chosen so later in life; they don’t feel as so many of us feel today: “How I wish I had taken a different path through life.” Remember every son will replace his father and every daughter will replace her mother. Do we want them to be on a higher level than us or not?

In the poem, “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost, a young person comes to a fork in the road and must decide which way to go. Though both roads look at first sight equally good, he decides to take a lesser traveled road which later in his life makes all the difference:

What will our children say about the road they took years later? Will we have guided them or will they stumble along and wish that a parent, a teacher, a friend, a relative—someone—had guided them?

When they leave our nest will they be able to soar high like eagles enjoying the panoramic view? Helping them to make the major decision is our ultimate responsibility as a parent. Let’s do it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Brunswick Man Develops Mobile Learning Initiative for Area College


TRENTON, N.J. Matthew Cooper was seven years old when Thomas Edison State College first pioneered the development of online college courses more than 20 years ago.

Today, he is playing a lead role in Thomas Edison State College's new Mobile Learning Initiative, which is creating new course delivery formats that enable students to complete courses regardless of their location and without the need for an Internet connection.

"Our goal is to meet the needs of busy adults who are mobile more often than they are stationary, including deployed military personnel and mass transit riders," he said.

Cooper, a course designer at the college, knows all about having down time on a train. He travels by rail from his home in New Brunswick to the college's Trenton campus every day. His perspective as a commuter may have been helpful as he played a key role developing one of the college's latest course delivery system, which enables students to complete courses with no Internet connection. The courses he developed, known as FlashTrack courses, made their debut in spring 2009 and are delivered to students on a single two gigabyte (2 GB) flash drive. The 15 new flash-based courses are designed for independent learners and prepare students to take a pass or fail examination.

"I have been working on the Mobile Learning Initiative since I joined the college in July," said Cooper, who moved to New Jersey from Kansas City, Mo., with his wife. "The FlashTrack program was our first step to making our educational programs more accessible to our students."

Cooper also has been busy developing another new course delivery system that the college launched in July 2009. This new course format enables students to access 20 courses with any web-enabled cell phone or other mobile device. The courses, known as Mobile Option e-Pack courses, are also designed for independent learners and enable students to use smartphones to download and complete diagnostic quizzes that form part of the regular course work and prepare students to take a final exam.

Read More:


Monday, March 1, 2010

What difference does 10 years make?

Published Monday, March 1, 2010

In school, students are taught that learning never stops.

There are always new lessons, new breakthroughs to absorb and comprehend.

The profession of education is very much the same.

In the past decade alone, teachers have seen drastic changes in their field, from their students’ personalities to trying to educate in the wake of the Standards of Learning testing.

While there have been many advancements in the education field during the past 10 years, some of Suffolk’s most veteran teachers point to one thing as the biggest and greatest change in the classroom: the role of technology.

“Technology, certainly, has to be at top of the list,” said Elaine Abernathy, a kindergarten teacher at Mount Zion Elementary School. Abernathy has been teaching for 34 years in Suffolk’s schools.

Personal computers were not new to the world in 2000, but the technology had not permeated far into the educational field. Today, computers are available for every student in the city. Course work and grade books are available online, and Internet research, multimedia capabilities and PowerPoint presentations are almost prerequisites in student projects.

Abernathy said the expansive role of technology goes hand in hand with a new generation that has been groomed with new technological advances.

“They are exposed to so many gadgets,” Abernathy said. “They just apply that same technology. They aren’t afraid to explore it. For children who are auditory or visual learners, it’s right there for them. It really addresses their needs and the way they learn.”

Deborah Luisi, a second-grade teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary School, agreed.

“As an ‘old-school’ teacher, it is thrilling for me to watch 7- and 8-year-old students engrossed in research, reading, math and many other educational avenues via technology,” she said.

Luisi, who has been teaching for 30 years — 27 of them in Suffolk, said it is not just the students who incorporate technology into the classroom.

Teachers also have been incorporating technology to create more efficient classrooms.

“We have programs in place which make our work (grading, assessments, reports — you name it) more accurate and expedient,” Luisi said. “Also, email puts us into immediate touch with co-workers as well as parents.”

Read More: http://www.suffolknewsherald.com/news/2010/mar/01/what-difference-does-10-years-make/