Since March, Dixon Deutsch and his students have been quietly experimenting with a little website that could one day rock the foundation of how schools do business.
A K-2 teacher at Achievement First Bushwick Elementary Charter School in Brooklyn, N.Y., Deutsch, 28, has been using Free-Reading.net, a reading instruction program that allows him to download, copy and share lessons with colleagues.
He can visit the website and comment on what works and what doesn’t. He can modify lessons to suit his students’ needs and post the modifications online: Think of a cross between a first-grade reading workbook and Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia written and edited by users.
Delivering the first major company presentation at TechCrunch 40, Scott Moore and Bill Scott from Yahoo presented Yahoo Teachers, a new research focused service aimed at making life easier for teachers. Yahoo Teachers is a clip to database style service; users utilize the “gobbler” that is an online clipping service with a desktop interface client where they can drag research and reading materials when formulating lessons. Where it becomes an even more appealing service for teachers is with the sharing capabilities: think Wikipedia but written by school teachers with a focus on delivery to children.
School of Everything, designed to connect anyone who can teach with anyone who wants to learn, has quietly launched an early public alpha version of its site.
The site is set up to serve the thousands of people in the UK who now work as independent, self-employed teachers. (Thanks Rick)
Tech Crunch: School of Everything quietly launches alpha site
[technologies] have nothing whatever to do with the fundamental problems we have to solve in schooling our young. If I do harbor any hostility toward these machines, it is only because they are distractions. They divert the intelligence and energy of talented people from addressing the issues we need most to confront.
I agree the main problems we should all face in education are with its fundamental aims and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get to distracted by technology that doesn’t really allow us to do anything we couldn’t do before. I’d really like to hear peoples opinions on this so please comment.
TECHNOS QUARTERLY Winter 1993 Vol. 2 No. 4
Of Luddites, Learning, and Life
By Neil Postman
“I would bar educators from talking about technical improvements until they have disclosed their reasons for offering an education in the first place.” So wrote Neil Postman in his cautionary tale, “Deus Machina,” in the Winter 1992 issue of TECHNOS. Here he takes his challenge one step further, to those who say that new technologies will soon make schools extinct. They have it all wrong, Postman says, because they don’t understand the real purpose of schools.
Woodhill Primary School in Scotland has shown that Podcasting and Blogging can be useful educational tools. After receiving permission from the local authority and handling security issues the school has been using ICT technology to enhance learning and to communicate with schools through Europe (e-Twinning).
“The children look forward to the project time, they enjoy being out of the classroom environment.
She added: “It is extremely effective way of teaching and we are starting to introduce these methods into our normal language lessons.”
Both teachers and parents say they have seen a huge improvement in their vocabulary, confidence in speaking and their accents since they started the blogs in January.
Emails have been exchanged with classes in Trinidad and Tobago as well as in China, swapping experiences of life in the childrens’ home countries.
The ability to answer questions and communicate with teachers and pupils in France and in Coventry is a motivation for pupils to log on regularly.
They enjoy reading emails from their international friends in the ‘e-twinning’ link with a school in Nancy.
Primary seven pupils on a trip to Paris updated their blog from hotel rooms, adding pictures and sending electronic postcards to classmates at home.
Interesting article from the BBC suggesting that technology can improve learning and has a greater chance of success in primary education where the curriculum is more flexible.
High levels of computer technology in schools can improve attainment to an extent, a four-year study has found.