New Teachers Won’t Save Us

New Teachers Won’t Save Us

This is going to come as a shock I know…but pre-service education programs are not preparing teachers for a technology rich classroom teaching experience. Or to put that another way the classrooms of today. According to a Project Tomorrow Report …principals concluded that they want to hire new teachers with creative ideas about how technology can be leveraged to create authentic and differentiated learning experiences. But student-teachers report that their tech training focuses only on simple management tools. At the same time, the report concludes that those who have the biggest influence on new teachers — veteran educators –  don’t always embrace new ways of using technology to engage students. ~MindShift This is an issue and one I have seen first hand. I have had the privilege of meeting with pre-service educators in both undergraduate programs and Master’s In Teaching programs…mostly here in the State of Washington. Now some of these programs are doing things different, trying to do things differently or bring a different approach. However, for the most part what I’m finding is technology is still an afterthought in these programs and not a true representation of what is happening in schools. One of the main issues I see is that technology, in many programs, is a separate course and is not integrated into each of the subject/classes that a pre-service educator takes. History teachers….as part of their program should be required to know how to use all the amazing layers found in Google Earth. Math teachers should know about things like PhotoMath and how you could leverage this in the classroom. English teachers should study and understand how writing has changed over the years and have students practice writing in mediums that apply to 2014. Blogs, Tweets, Status Updates, images and videos. Those are the writing tools of today and of the future. Or how about just on an professional level. I wonder how many pre-service program cover things like: How to respond to an upset parent over email How to respond to an upset student over email How to respond to colleagues professionally over email How to write a professional email that conveys your message and will be read How to handle a situation in which a parents sends you a DM on Facebook about their child (yes they can…yes it happens) How to handle yourself professionally when everyone has a camera in their pocket...

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MOOCs starting to scare Universities and Professors

MOOCs starting to scare Universities and Professors

Gigaom had a great article this week on some of the push back that MOOCs and Coursera in particular are seeing from university professors. A couple quotes: Princeton professor Mitchell Duneier told The Chronicle of Higher Education Tuesday that he will no longer teach his class out of concerns that it could undermine public higher education. In April, Amherst rejected a partnership with edX citing concerns that MOOCs could take tuition funding from middle- and lower-tier schools and lead to a degraded model of teaching. You can read the article yourself and I also encourage the comments. What I am hearing is that things are getting scary here in this MOOC world. That both professors and universities are starting to either feel the effects or see the writing on the wall that things are going to change. The problem is….I don’t know if they can really control it or stop it. When anyone anywhere can learn anything and all they need is an internet connection and a device to access it….things...

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The March To Online Learning Continues

The March To Online Learning Continues

Just a quick post to point to two pieces of information that shows the slow march we’re seeing to online learning and how it is going to effect high schools in the near future. The disruption is near for sure. A small study done by Millenial Branding with college students shows that many believe they can get as good if not better education online. Here are some figures from the survey. 50 percent of students said they don’t need a traditional classroom to learn, but 78 percent do think that it’s easier to learn in a traditional classroom than online. (associationsnow.com) Not sure what to make of this. Is it a good thing or bad thing that 78% of students think it’s “easier” to learn in a traditional classroom? I have talked to people who have taken online courses and most do say they are more work as you can’t “hide” in an traditional class but not in an online course. I would have rather them say it was more educational or it was more “fun” to learn in a traditional classroom. Not sure what the questions were on the survey…but not sure I like “easier”. 43 percent say that online education will provide them with courses of the same or higher quality than traditional colleges. (associationsnow.com) So not all of them believe online is the way to go….but they do believe it is the way education is headed. There are some other good stats to look at in the survey. As this survey comes out asking millenials in college about online education, News. Corp’s Amplify launched a High School MOOC course. The first course is an AP Computer Science course and is aimed at preparing students to take the College Board exam. The online program, taught by an experienced high school teacher, is free to students. And an added option, called MOOC Local, which provides schools with students in the CS MOOC additional resources, will cost $200 per student but is free to schools for the first year. (gigaom.com) So if your school doesn’t offer AP Computer Science and you have students that want to take it, now they have a choice. The MOOC Local option looks like the future to me. Where a school has a “coach” who helps students when they need it, who can be that connection and even connect students within a school. Think how this could...

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How Much Longer Will a Degree Mean Something?

How Much Longer Will a Degree Mean Something?

  This thought has been rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks now. How much longer will a college degree mean something?  What has me thinking is the news I have been following about the Stanford Artificial Intelligence class that is now open for anyone to join. Some 35,000 people have turned in the first three weeks worth of assignments and are completing the same work as those paying thousands of dollars for the course at Stanford only for free.  At the end of the course, those that complete all the work will receive a certificate from Standford. They can’t actually get Standford credit because…well…that wouldn’t be fair to the 175 students in the class that are spending thousands of dollars to take it on campus.  So if I can take courses for free and I can get a certificate that says I have completed this course, or that course, what does the degree actually get me? I think we’ve already started to see the end of the degree in many areas, especially around technology where kids are hired straight out of high school or drop out of college to go work for the likes of Microsoft or Apple just to name a few.  The knowledge they have trumps a degree. When do we start hiring for the knowledge you have rather than the degree you hold? When will a certificate of this open course or that open course mean as much as actually taking the college course? What happens when a college degree really doesn’t mean anything other than you spent x amount of hours with your butt in a seat somewhere for four five six years? What happens when you’re hired for what you know not what courses you took? What happens when the skills you have become more important than the content you know? What happens when a college degree no longer means anything?   Image: Some rights reserved by...

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