What is News? Learn from the Newseum!

by Bonnie Bracey-Sutton

The Newseum is a treasure chest of resources for teachers. I attended a teacher workshop that was interesting, exciting and which provided many resources to use in understanding the news.

News is the power in Washington DC.without any lessons, but it is imperative to have a handle on what is news.


The city of Washington , DC is all about news.

What is News?

Today, there is constant news that comes from television, radio, the Internet, and other sources. People have access to ways of resourcing news using technology , being able to gather resources in photos,radio, videos, and print. The news is constantly evolving and changing even in a day. We create news with our devices.

To help teachers teach, the Newseum offers many resources. These were shared in a workshop for teachers and many resources are also available on the new Newseum website. The Newseum says that there is more to every story.http://www.newseum.org/


We gathered and selected workshops to be involved in.

An added benefit was that we met teachers from many schools and we networked and shared ideas. But the main ideas we shared were focused on seeing the news , understanding it, and learning how to let students think about how news is gathered. It was fun to do a newsletter on the Civil War. Why? We had to report from the Northern point of view or the Southern point of view , and we had real life examples to look at and see .. just how the news can be slanted , or even wrong. It was fun to see how wrong some of the news was at that time.




We had a workshop to think , decide, talk about what makes the news and what is news today vs. news before all of the digital platforms.

                                                    What a Building!!



The building itself teaches. As you wander around there is so much to see and learn. This video gives you some idea of how immersive and interesting the site itself is.There is a glass elevator that ascends to the television studio and showroom. There is a cafeteria and a gift shop and the usual tourist amenities and you can pre-arrange parking.


The Newseum


We as teachers were involved in various types of lessons to teach us how to use the news, and to teach how to get a perspective on the news.

My choices initially did not use much technology in the lessons, though they were very  interactive. There are digital lessons from the museum and one of the workshops was to learn how to use the new digital platform which is here.


                 This is the Newseum Digital Classroom 


Here you can log in and have access to the digital resources, and get information the process is easy.There are 15 galleries, 15 theaters and lots of gallery space. Then there are the television tours and workshops. So much to see.

Students in the Washington DC Metropolitan area and that includes the whole metropolitan area get to visit the Newseum free of charge. Register for a free visit. For students coming to Washington for a class trip, the Newseum makes it easy to organize a visit. It is worth the trip!!

The New World.. the Old World met.. It was not all about Columbus!! How About those Spices

We are getting ready to “celebrate ?” Columbus Day.


Most people have not been lucky enough to get a good perspective on what happened when the two worlds met. I was a teacher learner at the Smithsonian when the Quincentennial happened and in planning, they dug deeply into history that few of us were taught. Teachers in the Metropolitan DC area were involved in the workshops and the planning. We worked with Julie Margolis.


The main book we used to form ideas was “The Columbian Exchange:Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. We had lots of other books, and activities and even a garden that was on the museum grounds and on the grounds of a school.(http://www.jstor.org/stable/3742188?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents) Some of the research papers we studied were included in the book that became the exhibit handbook..

What is Black History

This student is searching for home, which for her is South Africa

Dr. Herman J. Viola , a curator emeritus at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History also gave us several workshops. He , a specialist on the history of the American West,  served as director of the Museum’s National Anthropological Archives in addition to organizing two major exhibitions for the Smithsonian. “Magnificent Voyagers” told the story of the United State Exploring Expedition of 1838-42, and “Seeds of Change” exhibit which we are referencing here, he examined the exchange of plants, animals, and diseases between the Old and the New Worlds as a result of the Christopher Columbus voyages of discovery.


Columbus, we are told, was no heroic “discoverer” of a New World; as some now see it, he was a villain who pillaged and polluted another old one. At the very least, some say this was not a “discovery.” The approved word for the year of 1992 was “encounter.” There is a whole other discussion on the origins of the maps and the history of map making.

Also, strike the term “celebration.” Many Native Americans viewed the Columbus Quincentenary as more properly an occasion to mourn the destruction of their civilizations. The golden mean, that was taught by the Smithsonian Institution, was the neutral idea of “commemoration.”

The Smithsonian’s “Seeds of Change” exhibition was a marker to think differently about the two world coming together in – the largest ever mounted display by the National Museum of Natural History – it did not focus on Columbus himself, although it refers to his voyages and contained quotations from his journals.

Here is a different take on what Columbus was looking for. Can you say spices?

Do you know that this is a different way of thinking about why Columbus went to the “Indies”


And here is a map0d0ae1e3-f061-4e7e-a9ee-348d1bdd6992


The theme of the “Seeds of Change” at the Smithsonian was the biological and cultural exchanges that transformed two old worlds into one new one – a popularization of ideas introduced two decades ago by historian Alfred W. Crosby Jr. in his book.

There is a darker view of Columbus , presented here..http://www.understandingprejudice.org/nativeiq/weather.htm Everyone does not agree about the cultural exchange and encounter.

                                                Elements of Change

Often discussed were the horse, tomato, potato, corn and disease. ( tobacco was not mentioned, Slavery was inserted).

The five ``seeds`` that Columbus sowed on both sides of the Atlantic with his voyages to the new world that were presented were  sugar, corn, the potato, disease and the horse, Margolis told us.

“The transfer of these items changed the world,“ Corn, for example, was unknown to Columbus and the rest of the world.


In 1493, when corn was first exported to Europe, people there fed it to livestock, thinking it unfit for human consumption. But by 1700, corn became a staple, especially in Africa, where it contributed to a population growth that in turn fed the slave trade to America. Think sugar cane, rum, and the triangle of slavery.



The horse, too was depicted, as a seed of change when the Spanish used it to conquer the Americas. Horses roamed America in prehistoric times, but were killed off during the Ice Age; Columbus reintroduced them to the New World, to which they were well adapted.Horses, for example, are depicted as having increased Indian wealth and leisure time, while inspiring an array of crafts and clothing. But their use by Indian societies also is said by some to have promoted contact, competition and warfare among tribes.


.The Tomato http://www.tomato-cages.com/tomato-history.html

Margolis pointed out to us that Italian cuisine with its tomato sauces could not have come into being without the American tomato brought back to Europe by Columbus. A 6- by 8-foot sculpture was in the exhibit, “Spaghetti Meets Tomato,“ by artist Roark Gourley of Laguna Beach, Calif., shows a whimsical, climbing tomato plant towering over a red-and-white checked tablecloth and an array of common Italian-American dishes.“`Spaghetti Meets Tomato


“I had tried different things, none of which I liked,” Gourley said. “I had a food fight between Columbus and a kid that didn’t work out. I kept tinkering with it until the idea of spaghetti and tomato, which is so simple, hit me.”The finished piece looked to be constructed entirely of food, but is deceptively intricate in its design. The spaghetti noodles are made of a resin-glossed clothes line, the cheese of sliced-up rubberbands and rice made of real spaghetti noodles

When we visited we had a list of the foods from the New World and a list of Old World Food.

It was fun to make a menu using only foods from one list.

For other readings that cast a different light on the importance of the Columbian Voyages read this book ” Precious Cargo” The Author says

“The discovery of the Americas was a watershed event for food that forever changed history and triggered unforeseen advances in agriculture, enterprise, and commerce that allowed the development of the modern world. Admittedly, this progress came with horrendous problems, like slavery and the destruction of indigenous societies and species, but I don’t believe it serves any useful purpose to make moral judgments about historical events. The purpose of Precious Cargo, is simply to tell the many stories of how and why western hemisphere foods and crops conquered the rest of the world and saved it from not only culinary boredom, but mass starvation as well”


The Tomato History has origins traced back to the early Aztecs around 700 A.D; therefore it is believed that the tomato is native to the Americas. It was not until around the 16th century that Europeans were introduced to this fruit when the early explorers set sail to discover new lands. Throughout Southern Europe, the tomato was quickly accepted into the kitchen, yet as it moved north, more resistance was apparent. The British, for example, admired the tomato for its beauty, but believe that it was poisonous, as its appearance was similar to that of the wolf peach.

Sugar cane is viewed more harshly still. As visitors enter the darkened section devoted to this fifth “seed,” they suddenly find themselves in the simulated hold of a slave ship. Originally brought from Europe, sugar cane grew even better in the Caribbean, where its production for European use stimulated the slave trade and caused the ravaging of the native terrain, the exhibition argues.

From virgin rain forests to sugar cane plantations, a diorama re-creating a slave dwelling and narration of an account of slave life by actress Whoopi Goldberg.


New World Foods: corn, potato, tomato, bell pepper, chili pepper, vanilla, tobacco, beans, pumpkin, cassava root, avocado, peanut, pecan , cashew, pineapple, blueberry, sunflower, petunia, black-eyed susan, dahlia, marigold, quinine, wild rice, cacao (chocolate), gourds, and squash.

Here is an indepth game to play to learn a lot more from the NMAI.


When Christopher Columbus arrived on the Bahamian Island of Guanahani (San Salvador) in 1492, he encountered the Taíno people, whom he described in letters as “naked as the day they were born.” The Taíno had complex hierarchical religious, political, and social systems. Skilled farmers and navigators, they wrote music and poetry and created powerfully expressive objects. At the time of Columbus’s exploration, the Taíno were the most numerous indigenous people of the Caribbean and inhabited what are now Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. By 1550, the Taíno were close to extinction, many having succumbed to diseases brought by the Spaniards. Taíno influences survived, however, and today appear in the beliefs, religions, language, and music of Caribbean cultures.

Had horses really been extinct in the Americas until Christopher Columbus shipped them there on his second voyage? they wanted to know.

And was it true that diseases imported by the explorers and conquistadors had decimated as much as 90 percent of the native population?

And why was tobacco not included I assume that it was not politically correct to tell about it.

TOBACCO: The Early History of a New World Crop
Hail thou inspiring plant! Thou balm of life,
Well might thy worth engage two nations’ strife;
Exhaustless fountain of Britannia’s wealth;
Thou friend of wisdom and thou source of health.
-from an early tobacco label

Tobacco, that outlandish weed
It spends the brain, and spoiles the seede
It dulls the spirite, it dims the sight
It robs a woman of her right.

-Dr. William Vaughn, 1617
As these two verses show, tobacco use has long been a controversial subject, considered by turns a vice, a panacea, an economic salvation and a foolish and dangerous habit. However, it was perceived, by the end of the seventeenth century tobacco had become the economic staple of Virginia, easily making her the wealthiest of the 13 colonies by the time of the American Revolution.

The Old World encountered tobacco at the dawn of the European Age of Exploration. On the morning of October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus set foot on a small island in the Bahamas. Believing himself to be off the coast of Asia, the Admiral dressed in his best to meet the local inhabitants. The Arawaks offered him some dried leaves as a token of friendship. Those leaves were tobacco. A few days later, a party from Columbus’ ship docked off the coast of Cuba and witnessed local peoples there smoking tobacco through Y-shaped tubes which they inserted in their noses, inhaling smoke until they lost consciousness.

Source? http://www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/tobacco-the-early-history-of-a-new-world-crop.htm

Disease– Controversial subject ….

The exhibition’s section on disease included fascinating pre-Columbian sculptures from Peru’s Moche culture, which for some reason (we never learn why) excelled in the depiction of medical deformities. There was a case devoted to the argument that, in an exception from the more common transfer of infections from East to West, syphilis may have been brought back to Europe by Columbus’ crew. No space, however, is allotted to countervailing theories, including the notion that Europeans might at one time have misdiagnosed syphilis as leprosy. Discussions continue about the effects of disease.


European exploration of tropical areas was aided by the New World discovery of quinine, the first effective treatment for malaria. Europeans suffered from this disease, but some indigenous populations had developed at least partial resistance to it. In Africa, resistance to malaria has been associated with other genetic changes among sub-Saharan Africans and their descendants that can cause sickle cell anemia.[1]:164

Before regular communication had been established between the two hemispheres, the varieties of domesticated animals and infectious diseases that jumped to humans, such assmallpox, were strikingly more numerous in the Old World than in the New. Many had migrated west across Eurasia with animals or people, or were brought by traders from Asia, so diseases of two continents were suffered by all occupants. While Europeans and Asians were affected by the Eurasian diseases, their endemic status in those continents over centuries resulted in many people gaining acquired immunity.

By contrast, “Old World” diseases had a devastating effect when introduced to Native American populations via European carriers, as the people in the Americas had no naturalimmunity to the new diseases. Measles caused many deaths. The smallpox epidemics are believed to have caused the largest death tolls among Native Americans, surpassing any wars[13] and far exceeding the comparative loss of life in Europe due to the Black Death.[1]:164 It is estimated that upwards of 80–95 percent of the Native American population died in these epidemics within the first 100–150 years following 1492. Many regions in the Americas lost 100%.[1]:165

Similarly, yellow fever is thought to have been brought to the Americas from Africa via the Atlantic slave trade. Because it was endemic in Africa, many people there had acquired immunity. Europeans suffered higher rates of death than did African-descended persons when exposed to yellow fever in Africa and the Americas, where numerous epidemics swept the colonies beginning in the 17th century and continuing into the late 19th century.

Debate on the origins of syphilis has been raging for centuries. New genetic evidence supports the theory that Christopher Columbus brought syphilis to Europe from the New World. According to the study, genetic analysis of the syphilis family tree reveals that its closest relative was a South American disease that causes yaws, an infection caused by a sub-species of the same bacterium. [14]

But wait.. there is more.. There was gold, and silver and huge Emeralds… there were ships that took that treasure to Spain. I certainly remember the Emeralds. Probably not as important  as the cocoa bean which made chocolate a choice commodity.

How Do We Improve the State of Teacher Diversity and Assist with Professional Development?

Man without identity programing in technology enviroment with cy

I am from a generation that was taught with 20 year old books and schools in a sad state of being. We could read, and write and do math but the subjects were limited and access to the best of teachers was not usual. Of course there was no technology, and sadly there was no science. Often science gets shoved to the back of the curriculum map for minority students and teachers.


National Geographic Education , NASA , NOAA and NSF projects have shaped my knowledge. There is a gold mine of resources at Concord.org


Most minority teachers do not have access to exemplary professional development even when it is for free because they don’t know about it or they cannot access and learn using technology. There is always the George Lucas Educational Foundation site, Edutopia.  It’s free. There are online assists, but a lot of the webinars are focused beyond beginners. Autodesk University has a series of webinars, as does ISTE, for teachers to learn how to use the technology. Autodesk Design Academy (http://academy.autodesk.com).

ISTE has a series of PLN’s which help teachers to explore, be involved, learn to innovate, and have mentors for learning.

The White House has initiatives too, http://www.esri.com/connected



It is true that before my time Einstein visited Lincoln University to teach physic but few people know of that mentoring. I know it because my uncle taught at the University in Pennsylvania that he visited , there is a photo on line of Einstein in the classrooms there.

     Internet of Things? Or just plain access and contact?

Today we are talking about technology. Who has it? You really don’t think everyone even in the US has access ? Broadband? Tools and well trained teachers? If you think that you must be dreaming and you may not know how to measure broadband speed.

Professional development is an interesting puzzle. There is a mindset for involving the use of technology. It is called TPACK. You use it for ideational scaffolding and inclusion.http://tpack.org

Here’s the problem. Many teachers in rural , distant, urban, and difficult schools do not have access to technology in meaningful ways and do not have a mentor or technical help that is available to them . So there is fear. There is not a lot of time within the schedule and even though we know that digital pedagogy is important.

Some people cling to the tests as the anchor for finding out what our students know. Sadly in the places where the technology is limited there is a problem that few speak about and that is that the technology that is available is needed to give the tests, so teachers have to release the technology for testing. Certainly most of them will not complain.

Punya Mishra​ has a solution for the professional development. He got funding to link a University to teachers working in schools of need and they work through the summer to be involved, learn, create, innovate and share their learning as they earn a Master’s degree. Publications and lessons are shared. It is one of several ideas to change the skills of teachers working in places of need.

BPDA and LISTA too champion students and teachers. These organization help. They have chapters and mentors who make a difference. I mentioned NSF. There are projects that help to integrate new practices and ideas called CyberLearning.

They ask these questions.

  • How can cyberlearning help empower the next generation of diverse learners?
  • How can we create innovative technologies that draw upon sound theories of learning through productive collaborations among researchers, designers, learners, and formal and informal educators?
  • How can we foster an inclusive design community that balances real world problems and settings with promising cyberlearning approaches?
  • How can we integrate contributions from multiple research projects for broader impact (e.g., combining our theories or combining our tools into a common infrastructure)?
  • Approximately 150 leading researchers along with students, educators, designers, industry experts, and other stakeholders will work together for two days at Cyberlearning 2016 to accelerate the community’s collective work and impact. Here is the call for participation.


The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education
Albert Shanker Institute
Teacher Diversity in the U.S. is an area of concern. The teacher work force has gotten less ethnically and racially diverse and more female, a development which has had an adverse effect on students, particularly on males of color. It is an impediment to the broader goals of equity and social harmony. ASI is working to better understand teacher labor market trends and identify promising interventions aimed at increased teacher diversity in K-12 education.

This report shows that nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared to the need for more minority teachers. In the nine cities studied—Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—the picture is much more bleak, and there are only a few pockets of progress, surrounded by serious setbacks.
You can download the report at the link above.

There is a report that many are looking at the OECD report? what say you about that? http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/students-computers-and-learning_9789264239555-en#page8

Researchers remind us of this work

Ed Tech researchers would remind them about the field of Media effect research and the classic articles from Kozma and Clark.

Ahmed Mohamed is one student!!Why Not Support for Science and Math for All Minority Students?


The story about the young student in Texas who made a clock lets us know that there is also a deficient in the knowledge of science within the teaching force.

What We Know About the Delivery of Science and Math for Minority Students

Bonnie Bracey-Sutton – September 19, 2015

We are not doing enough!!! Many of the initiatives that are coming from Industry are too short, too limited and do not bridge the gap. Teachers themselves may not have sufficient subject knowledge or appropriate skills because of poor quality, or lack of, teacher training.Preparing teachers with the right skills:  Teachers should be equipped with knowledge and teaching skills that can provide relevant guidance to promote effective practice and support improvement.There may be more community support for READING science than actually doing science.

Technology is an ever changing learning landscape and if one has only a little of the knowledge needed to be secure in the delivery of information, there is a problem.


First,  read the report from Pew on the state of science and math for minorities.
. The report was not a surprise to seasoned educators , legislators, and researchers who work with the minority groups. We have similar reports for each group.


Not much interest has been shown in the Pew Report that tells us
here is a significant gap in knowledge about scientific concepts along racial and ethnic lines in the U.S., according to a new Pew Research Center report released last week.

The Report states that ”When asked a series of 12 science-related questions, whites, on average, fared better than blacks or Hispanics. While the average number of questions whites answer correctly is 8.4, for Hispanics that number is lower – 7.1 – and drops to 5.9 for blacks. (There were not enough Asian respondents in the sample to be broken out into a separate analysis.)”

“Our latest findings are consistent with previous Pew Research surveys and with data from the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center. These differences tend to span multiple scientific disciplines, from life and earth sciences to physics and energy-related questions.”


In the two separate weeks before and during the report we have learned much about the needs of Hispanic learners.  http://www.edexcelencia.org/research/2015-factbook

Those of us in education know that there is a terrible gap in learning math and science and seemingly the technology has advanced the gap. While many are seeking the Internet of Things. IoT, there are rural, distant, urban and tribal students who cannot advance to the level necessary to do basic use because of factors that impede their learning. Access is a problem as noted by the FCC. Tool access and ownership are a problem, as well as the support needed to successfully use the tool or tools. Well trained teachers? We know that the best of teachers are not necessarily teaching in the areas of difficulty.Inequitable distribution of well-trained teachers is a problem and even in the groups doing broadening engagement there are few minorities involved as mentors.

 The right to education that stimulates active learning and inspires imaginations can only be a reality when the transformative power of education is fully realized, however too many children and young people – especially the disadvantaged – are leaving school without learning anything of value . 

Many of them just leave school. The dropout problem is a reality in education .

There is consistent evidence that teachers are the most important school-based factor in determining learning outcomes, second only to what children bring to school. There remains a marked deficit in both teacher numbers and teaching quality, which has an extreme impact on learning outcomes for children.

The Pew Report shares some of the problems which are not unknown in the learning communities of these children of America.


Most American Indian children attend public schools where disparities occur both at the k-12th educational level, and at post-secondary levels. During the 2010-11 school year, there were 378,000 AI/AN (alone) students in the U.S. public school system, comprising 0.7% of the total public school population (Aud, Hussar, Johnson, et al., 2012). In comparison, during this same time period, there were 49,152 students in Bureau of Indian Education Schools (Bureau of Indian Education, 2011). The high school dropout rate for Native American students is alarming and in previous years has reflected a rate as high as 50% (Herring, 1992). More recent research indicates that American Indian enrollment, retention, and graduation rates are lower than any other ethnic group (Harrington & Harrington, 2012). While estimates show some improvement for American Indians/Alaskan Natives having earned a high school diploma or equivalent, the figures still speak to their trailing behind their Euro-American counterparts by 12% (NIA, 2011). An awareness of the constant tension for American Indians children’s experience in public schools must be acknowledged in order to address it. There is more. You can find it here.


Lots of group are doing broadening engagement to try to reach the students. Some groups even work within the community.  But schools are another story. There are school boards, administrators, supervisors, and experts and technology teachers.. Regular teachers are at the bottom of of the pyramid. In the event at Microsoft, the presenter from DC suggested that teachers did not have TIME to be technology literate.

We know that time, exposure, knowhow and practice are important to the excellent use of technology. We know that mobile technology makes a difference but if you do your work on a phone there are restrictions. We know that many students can’t do Make Fairs because of the cost. I don’t care if the students do STEAM, Maker Faire or Hands on Science. There are many ways to make a difference in student lives. The initiatives of the White House have been wonderful. The problem is in getting the schools to adopt them and make them an important part of minority student learning.

Why Don’t American Teachers know Much About Africa ( actually Geography?)

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

orienteeringSome teachers follow their interests and innovate. Some teachers have not had  geography that was taught as a part of their teacher preparation. Africa is perhaps more on the radar to learn about for teachers who teach in urban areas. We teach about Black History so there is that linkage. But the link to slavery might be uncomfortable for many.. In schools often what we teach is prescribed by curriculum. I taught then, the Gifted and Talented and multicultural  in a team teaching situation.

I learned using the Hilda Taba methods , I read Black History widely and then I was taught by the National Geographic Summer Institute. We  had lectures, lessons, presentations, films, and the emerging technologies. We learned from all of the divisions and we created and crafted lessons plans to share with the members of the Institute. We were taught the tenets of Geography.


Bonnie Bracey Sutton sharing Sunshine Online Books in the Languages of South Africa with Educators at an IEarn Conference.

I did get to work in Africa, in South Africa, Namibia, Tunisia, Egypt. I traveled to more countries than that. What was important was that I had the support of an administrator,and there were State Dept. parents , and  school board support and grant funding.

Resources available to me? The Alliances of the National Geographic Education Division, Earthwatch, The Smithsonian African Museum of Art, the anthropology division of the Smithsonian.The Kennedy Center Arts Edge.

There were people in map division who gave me maps, and in the book division who shared books and research. There was even a photographer who came to my class to share his work and to teach the children the work of being a photographer for the National Geographic.

We learned about map projections and had fun with the Upside Down Map. and the True map of Africa.

Kids were interested in the foods of Africa. Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons helped to teach that and we cooked a bunch of recipes in the classroom. Cooking is my hobby and so I had lots of cookbooks from various parts of Africa. ( Smithsonian Book Store)  Jollof Rice was the easiest to do within the school time on a hot plate. It was very good.

From working with the World Summit  on Media for Children I have wonderful videos.

National Geographic Education is a part of the National Geographic Education and Children’s Media division. The division as a whole creates best-in-class products, experiences, and programs that teach kids about the world and how it works, empowering them to make it a better place. We educate by sparking curiosity, imparting knowledge through storytelling, and empowering action. We support lifelong learning by providing opportunities for kids, families, and educators to join global communities, where they can connect, learn, create, and share. And we inspire the new generation of global citizens to discover the world’s past, celebrate its present, and protect its future.
National Geographic Education taught me to use geography . The resources are too vast to list.

There are lectures at the National Geographic where children , parents and I learned from the explorer and adventures themselves.

Did I forget to mention the magazines. I did.And music and dance and the evolution of slavery.

I teach that too.

I believe that the emphasis on testing excludes the choices to teach a rich content.

Here is what I was replying to.


I noticed historical reference to the partition  of Africa was not given.

Robert Pondiscio took a swipe at American teachers and what they teach or know about Africa. John Oliver is a comedian. Like Donald Trump I guess he is allowed to skewer every one because making people laugh is what he does. But Pondiscio is immersed in education, and should have been kind enough to point out that there has been pioneering work going on at a lot of places to help teachers learn, share and teach about Africa.


Internet of Things? Some Are Waiting for Access to the Internet , the Tools and Well Trained Teachers


I always smile when a reporter says, in education we have too many tools , too much of the Internet and we should cut back and enjoy our real lives. Now the report is that STEM initiatives are harmful and of course we are excluding the arts.

Most of what minorities claim in technology has to do with the arts.

What we are they talking about?

Superhero kid. Girl power concept

Our minority students have to be Super students to be successful.

I doubt that most minority community schools have truly embedded STEM into their learning landscapes.That is where I work , and these are my constituents.

If we had sufficient STEM and Computational resources and training available, why is Silicon Valley having so much trouble hiring minority workers? We who are minorities know. There are researchers who know , but it is probably news to many reporters that there are people still waiting to be on the internet ( get access) , waiting to have teachers who are schooled in using the Internet in school and who don’t have the tools. Some think that mobile devices equalize. I think a mobile device is better than nothing.

Jesse Jackson is taking on the President, saying that he is responsible for the lack of diversity. Read my lips.

We have an education problem.

NCLB decimated the layer of science learning for more than a decade simply because it was not tested. Math , the real math that scientists use? Not taught . The skills that students need to be active in STEM and working in Silicon Valley were simply not taught in many cases because of the emphasis on testing in many schools, particularly those with challenging  minority enrollments,poverty as a problem and a weak teacher base. We know that the best of teachers are not often based in the places of most need.Every Job in America, Mapped

Here is a map to show where the jobs are in America. ( Present Jobs)

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2015/08/11/every-job-in-america-mapped/?SiteID=cbaolcompromotion_aug_11Map of Jobs in America

We know that the present jobs are not the jobs of the future. Years after the invention of the Internet there are people still out of the loop for the use of technology. What jobs are they being prepared for? A week of code will not do it. Actually , workshops are a tease, and unless instruction is sustained, posters and contests don’t do much for those who are limited in access (or who have no access).

Explore it.

It is different in different places.The elements are similar. Here is the research.

 A Vignette

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the US Census Bureau and Intel’s own internal numbers, Intel  determined the market availability of men, women, African American, Hispanic, and Native American candidates, and how its workforce measured up to those numbers. According to the company’s report, it did fairly well: for instance, Intel has 19.4 percent female representation where market availability is at 22.7 percent; 3.3 percent of its workforce is African American where there is 4.5 percent availability of candidates in the market.

In other words, the main limiting factor on the presence of diverse groups in Intel’s workforce is not Intel’s policies but availability of candidates with the right skills in the workforce as a whole.

Intel is not alone.

Remember my discussion about running to catch up? We are still asking for access , well trained teachers and tools. We are not all on the Internet and the Internet of Things is becoming a discussion point.

There is a lot of research to share the difficulties that those who are not on the Internet are having.

For many of us, a life without Internet might be hard to imagine. Yet, 15 percent of U.S. adults say they never go online, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

The survey, published in late July, found that the offline population has been shrinking significantly since 2000, when Pew began collecting data on Internet use. Back then, 48 percent of American adults weren’t online. However, in the past couple years, the size of this group hasn’t changed too much.

In the graph below, you can see that the downward trend has flattened recently:

“We’ve seen slow but steady adoption progress among a lot of demographic groups that have historically used the Internet in low numbers, such as older adults, or those with low income and education levels,” Aaron Smith, Pew’s associate director of research, told the Huffington Post in an email. “With that said, there are definitely still disparities around this issue and Internet usage overall really hasn’t changed measurably in the last two years.”

In fact, the latest Pew survey reveals that Internet non-adoption is still largely consistent with a series of factors such as age, education, household income and race and ethnicity. The chart below breaks down the demographics of non-users based on these different metrics:

Who's Not Online?

Seniors make up the majority of Internet hold-outs by age group: About 39 percent of adults 65 and older aren’t online, compared with only 3 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds. In addition, people who lack a high school education, or whose household income is less than $30,000 per year, are also more likely to stay offline.

The Pew survey also indicated that digital gaps among different racial groups are narrowing. Back in 2000, the Internet population was more homogenous than today: 72 percent of Asian-Americans were online, compared to 53 percent of White people, 46 percent of Hispanics and 38 percent of African-Americans. Over the past 15 years, African-Americans have have seen the fastest growth, with Internet usage rates now approaching that of whites.

SOURCE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/internet-access-americans_55c8b719e4b0923c12bd69fe

I have personal experience with helping with STEM, Broadening Engagement in Supercomputing and Coding, as well as ESRI.

I most recently trained with ESRI to be able to participate in helping education communities to use EdConnect.

It is an initiative that the President backs.

child Head


“If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible — from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.”

—President Barack Obama


I trained to be a mentor and disseminator of the program. It’s free.I was told that there is not time to learn it ( there is an online course) that teachers have testing to deal with and so there is no time. A dear friend of mine told me that the computers are needed for testing and so that during most testing times, computers are not available. * Sadly , in low performing schools, there is the pre testing, the preparation for testing , and then the testing. You know it is an important problem because of the cheating problems. One principal actually killed herself based on concerns about testing.

Are you listening?

So people are talking about the Internet of things. We are not even at the Internet. So sad.

Minority students are makers. We always have been. We are good in the arts. Making the future is harder. People who have what they need rarely consider what minority students in poor schools are having to do to make a future.

NASA used to be our engine of opportunity. The press does not report on NASA as in the past, and schools don’t give permission. They have outstanding programs. Some of us have been trained in several NASA programs. It is where lots of us learned astronomy, physics, and astrophysics. Programs are outstanding, I love NASA Quest, the Challenger Center see these resources, Fly By Math, and Hubble Astronomy, IE Amazing Space.

But wait, there is more. Geography!! We talk about the world without studying it in most cases.Do we really want to throw away the fabulous resources of the National Geographic in STEM? Or not use the vast resources of the National Geographic Society? STEAM included?

How do you become an engineer if you don’t get an introduction? Just saying. We have a problem in education.

childStudy: Most K-12 schools lack engineering-centered education

Can you hear me? STEM is still needed.

Internet of Things? Well it is here. Let’s hope that some synergy happens.

Every Kid in a Park? Who Goes to the National Parks? Start at a Park Near You!!



Did you know that you own millions of acres of national parks, historic structures, cultural artifacts, ancient forests, snow-capped mountains, and clear blue lakes? Our public lands and waters belong to all Americans and are waiting for you to explore them!

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To help engage and create our next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates, we are kicking off the Every Kid in a Park initiative. The immediate goal is to provide an opportunity for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

Soon, you will have access to your own Every Kid in a Park pass. This pass will give you free access to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more!

The Every Kid in a Park pass will be available for the 2015-2016 school year.

Every Kid in a Park joins the Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids program in helping children learn history, culture, and science while exploring the great outdoors. The initiative is an administration-wide effort among the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


The place above is the Arlington County Outdoor Lab where I learned from Phoebe Hall Knipling how to teach outdoors. First she invited me out there and she kept teaching me trails, ecology , plants and animals of the place , until I was a skilled teacher.

The Phoebe Hall Knipling Outdoor Lab now is a 225-acre facility that provides science and outdoor education to the students of Arlington County Public Schools.

%255BUNSET%255D-6In this natural classroom, urban youth — often for the first time — can run in a meadow, climb a mountain, hike beside a stream, or fish in a pond. Four classes per week visit the Outdoor Lab, one of which has an overnight, and there are three week-long summer camps. Each year, the Outdoor Lab provides hands-on outdoor and environmental education to more than 9,000 students, from elementary grades through high school.

I was lucky to work there in the summers too.

Phoebe had us learning birding, weeds and wildflowers, and ecology.IMG_7779

Dr. Phoebe Hall Knipling was a remarkable woman by anyone’s standards. Born in North Carolina, she developed a love and appreciation of nature in early life. By the time she had enrolled in public school at the age of 9, entered college at 15, and earned a Ph.D. at 23, her love of nature and passion for science were melded. She was first a teacher and later the first female Science Supervisor in the state of Virginia. She spent much of her time traveling over the state, taking high school science students on advanced summer field study programs.Phoebe knew, well before the rest of the country, that environmental, outdoor education was absolutely essential to the development of young people — people who would be making the decisions of the future. She knew that hands-on experiences were worth a thousand pages of textbook. As Arlington became increasingly more developed and less natural, and as the security and dependability of faraway study sites became less certain, Phoebe dreamed of one facility — secure and natural, close to Arlington — where our children would engage in outdoor studies.
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  • The non-profit Arlington Outdoor Education Association (AOEA) was founded in 1967, which later purchased a 210 acre tract on a small mountain in Fauquier County. The land was purchased for $90,000 from a Mrs. Striker, who sold it for $100,000 less than other offers, with the stipulation that her land be preserved and protected. The Mr. Preston Carruthers also loaned the AOEA $51,000 to help make the initial purchase. Today, the AOEA is responsible for maintaining the Outdoor Lab facilities, and provides camperships to needy students to allow participation by those who otherwise could not afford the fees. Costs associated with educational programs at the Lab are funded by Arlington County Public Schools.
     AOEA salamander mascotThere are groups that will help you learn and hone your skills. I worked with the Fish and Wildlife Service and we were able to visit Blackwater on a special trip. The personnel of the Fish and Wildlife Service involved us in the Duck Stamp Program as well.IMG_0493
    • Raptor Cams

      Bald eagle - Woody Dawson.Check out the raptor cams at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors can view the osprey nest and bald eagle nest either online or from the refuge visitor center. Learn more on the raptor cams page.

      Raptor Cams Page

    I loved teaching students in the out of doors. It was a bonding time. Some parents and I made i t a gourmet eating time. Julie Mangis would help me whip up a menu and the kids loved what we cooked.

    When technology came we created Outdoor News from the lab. We published our adventures, finds and activities.

    We learned to read a stream in quadrant study. We learned to read the trails. We spent time in a stream, and we hiked Biscuit Mountain.

    Each park or place has a history. At the Outdoor Lab we learned the history of the Civil War, explored the many springs, and hiked the trails we did story telling, and looked for patterns in nature. Stream study was one of the most exciting nature study programs.

    We wrote our adventures to the computer and edited the adventures of the day to share with parents.

    Julie Mangis and other parents helped create wonderful menus for our culinary experiences. while there and of course we ate S’mores. But we also used a big telescope to look at the night sky.

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    I like the fact that parents and community are involved because it can become a matter of habit.