Friday, August 30, 2019

A Perspective of Low-Income, First Generation Students

I recently stumbled across two very meaningful blog posts that gave a perspective of being a low-income, first-generation student. First-generation being that the student is the first in his/her family to attend a four-year college. The blogs were written by Andrew Martinez, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and research associate at the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

Andrew Martinez talks about how when he was at a college orientation why he felt like he did not belong. For example, he had to take a summer bridge program to "catch up" academically, while other students either traveled over the summer or did an internship. Another example is that sometimes wealthy parents or peers may intentionally or accidentally remind him that an elite school was not meant for someone like him. A way that this may be portrayed is that Martinez may be labeled as a pity-admit stemming from Affirmative Action. To some extent, Martinez admitted that this may be true, however, he felt like he was completely deserving of this opportunity because he had to work harder for his academic accomplishments.

All in all, his writing is quite inspirational and my short-summary simply does not do it justice. I highly encourage you to read his pieces, as it will give you either a better perspective on people born in a less advantageous position or if you are also a first-gen student, it may hit home with you.


URL to blogposts:

What I Remember About Orientation as a Low-Income, First-Generation Student

The Opportunity of Being First-Gen

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Reading Retention on Paper vs. Digitally

In a recent Education Dive article, the issue of retention between reading digitally and on paper was discussed. This article cited the Hechinger Report, conducted by Virginia Clinton, a professor at the University of North Dakota. In this report, "results indicate that retention after reading printed text improves more than a fifth of a standard deviation". The Education Dive article explained that a possible reason for this result was that textbooks receive more respect than digital prints and that students would put more effort into reading on paper publications. I do really agree with this point because simply reading words on a page does not mean that the reader would understand the material. To understand the material, a reader must "read critically" and be able to apply the concepts to other scenarios.

The article proceeded to say that even though many schools are now transitioning into less on paper prints to save money and paper, they should still provide students with the option to choose between both resources. Even though the results from the research may say that on paper prints may be better, I do prefer digital textbooks as a student. One of the benefits of a digital textbook is that my back won't be aching after a long day of carrying a heavy textbook around. In addition, a digital textbook allows a student to easily and quickly access the text on a phone or laptop anywhere. While reading retention may be higher with a paper textbook, I believe that students can re-read a digital textbook more times than an on-paper textbook, thanks to it being very convenient, which also leads to good retention.

URL to article:

URL to Hechinger Report

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Ways Technology is Helping Schools

No More Snow Days in Pennsylvania

This is one of the more interesting pieces of legislature that I have seen this year. In July, PA Governor Tom Wolf, signed a bill into law that allowed schools to have five days of flexible instruction. While the above article noted technology as an option on these days, other creative means of instruction may also be possible. Understandably, kids will be disappointed that their snow days are now cyber-learning days, however, teachers that struggle to keep pace with a difficult curriculum will be able to keep the students moving at a reasonable pace, even when schools are closed.

'Paperless First Day' attendance recording boosts efficiency

This is another great example of technology. For example, "schools [spend] an average of $50,000 a year on paper and ink", which adds up over the years honestly. This could be money that is well spent on technology and eliminates the cost of paper and ink. In addition, the article also states that in today's day and age, "students also often prefer to work on screens rather than paper", which is a statement that I can confidently attest to as a student myself.

Another added benefit of technology is efficiency. Texas' Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, Director of Digital Learning Chad Jones states that the paperless initiative has been a "game-changer" because the schools can easily track absences without delay. However, he also noted that while these gadgets may seem useful, a school district must have a clear willingness to make changes for a program like this to work.