Leon Botstein: Are We Still Educating Citizens?

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

This article is a brilliant essay by Bard College President Leon Botstein about the democratic and civic purposes of education.

It begins thus:

The initial motivations for the movement challenging the monopoly of public schools were ultimately ones of prejudice: White parents did not want their children to attend schools that were attended by blacks. This logic was then sanitized by appeals to religious liberty, insofar as parents fleeing integration attached themselves to religious movements. Evangelicals and observant Jews did not want their children to go to schools that idealized acculturation and assimilation into a secular society whose character promoted “godlessness.” The constituencies that wanted to circumvent integration allied themselves with those who resisted the separation of church and state. And no doubt, since school quality is dependent on local property taxes, the poorer the neighborhood, the worse the schools, making a mockery of the idea that public education was…

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Food, Kids, Nutrition and Culture..What Fun! What Great Learning Adventures!

Bonnie Bracey Sutton614636_10151200814371327_683517969_o

Sometimes I like to say this is about eating our way through Geography and History..children can be motivated by what they are interested in. Food is usually an interest.


Most people know me because of my interest in science, math , technology and engineering. But lots of people love me for my cooking.  My mother was a great cook. She said to me,if you can read you can cook. But she was from the country and cooked things in season and in a particular routine. She was excellent. She probably regretted that advice when I made bread for the first time. It was nine pans of rolls, but she was patient. I loved cooking in the kitchen with her. Virginia foods, soul foods and she liked to make French pastries ,too.

Recently , I have learned to eat more vegetables and salads. My husband brings a world of eating experience to my table. And he buys me cookbooks.

Sinking your teeth into the accidental science of cooking is fun!

I liked a wider range of foods and was always experimenting with food at home.I love how the Exploratorium calls it ” The Accidental Science of Cooking“.


On trips around the world I collected cookbooks and spices, but not for school.

I realized that one thing we all have in common was the daily task of eating.

How I Got Started

Once in the classroom during the Cherry Blossom Festival,a teacher came from the Smithsonian. She was Japanese, cute, and was teaching and cooking all at the same time. I was jealous. She had everyone’s rapt attention and even kids who were finicky about foods lined up to eat. That taught me a lesson. She was in cultural dress , talking and rocking her cooking on a hotplate. She was awesome.

My first help with cooking in the classroom was the 4H. They had some kind of recipes that were very good and inexpensive.  My second help, was having a garden in the school that I taught in, which at the time was Long Branch Elementary. in Arllington, Va.

I think I said to a parent , I would like to have a garden.  I was thinking about flowers , but there were strawberries growing in the back of the school near the park. So , all of a sudden parents and I were planning an early spring garden. Who knew it would be such fun? OK, it was also work, but the work was rewarding.

I don’t remember all of the parents, but Mr. Haithcock turned over the soil for us with a tractor , and Nathan Lyon’s family helped me choose plants.Nathan Lyon is now a chef of international status. The Lyon family helped us to get started. http://www.chefnathanlyon.com

Another mother came in to teach me to harden plants before we set them out. Harden? Who knew? I came from a family in Virginia who had a truck farm, but I was of the next generation. I just visited there in the summer. I learned as much as the students did. I learned to eat a lot of vegetable raw.

Did I mention Kolrabi…. I had no idea what it was. We had the soil tested by the 4H and we had written a grant so we had tools, gloves, shovels, sticks, seeds, and lots of garden resources. http://www.kidsgardening.org

I think the hardest thing was to get the kids and the tools down to the field without injury. I was always worrying about some one getting hit with a shovel, but it never happened. We had buckets too. The hose only reached so far. It was amazing how the children concentrated on the tasks.

Our school was on the edge of  a lovely park . A few of us could sit under the trees when others were digging in the dirt. Immigrant families interested in our work would also come and help weed and water. In the classroom we were raising chickens, hatching butterflies and frogs and doing Bugscope.

We should add Chickscope to the list, but we never ate our chickens. We raised them for the 4H and they would  come and collect our baby chickens. http://chickscope.beckman.uiuc.edu

As I matured as a teacher I learned to incorporate the geography of foods into my work. It started with the geography of a chocolate bar, http://www.iupui.edu/~geni/documents/Worldinacandybar.pdf

The art teacher helped us with the artistic part of it by letting us do still life painting. We visited the National Gallery of Art and saw the paintings of many artists  and we purchased a few copies of the paintings. At the link below you can take a look at some of the still life paintings in the collection and these days they are also available for the IPad.

The history of food, the travels of specific foods to the US reached a wonderful visual mapping from the ” Seeds of Change” which promoted the exchange of foods from around the world at the Smithsonian. It was  the exchange of plants and seeds between the Old and New Worlds following Columbus’s discovery of America in 1492. Themes included the introduction of horses, sugar, and disease to the New World and the introduction of potatoes and corn to the Old World.

No child in the room will forget the sculpture that showed when tomato met spaghetti. You can see that this can be the beginning of  a life long study.

Where in the world?

Here is a way to get started. http://kidworldcitizen.org/2012/08/24/where-in-the-world-is-your-food-from/


Food plays an important role in our culture and relationships. We had a map to study here.http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/seasoning/map/spicemap.html

  • This is the result from our learning about herbs. Mr. DeBaggio started a business. We always got free plants at the beginning of spring for our class.

    This is the result from our learning about herbs. Mr. DeBaggio started a business. We always got free plants at the beginning of spring for our class.

    Tom De Baggio would come into the class and start us growing seeds from herbs. The business is still going strong. From the catalog, you can learn a lot.

Sometimes we inserted food into the curriculum in interesting ways.

Here is art to eat



When we did Shakespeare , we ate using authentic recipes. We learned about sorrel and parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. The stories were fascinating. We did also make dragons with almond toenails. Too cute to eat, right away. Sorry, no picture. There be dragons, but we ate them.

US Russian Exchange… A life changing experience!!!

Welcome to Russia

I have been home long enough to take a reflective look back on the Russian Fellowship. I worked in Samara and Saint Petersburg. I spoke tourist level language. I learned a lot about living in the world. There is even a video that shows the big picture of the projects.



Video of the Project from the Eurasia Foundation
This short video gives an overview of SEE and showcases some of the amazing 2014 projects.
Be sure to watch from minute 3 for the (Education Group)
 Санкт-Петербург- Saint Petersburg, Russia
(once known also as Leningrad) was our first stop)1523887_10152192603016327_265439486_o.

My husband wrote,

VicSutton80By Vic Sutton

At a time when relations between the United States and Russia are cooling – if not cold – an innovative programme of the Eurasia Foundation continues to promote exchanges of professionals from both countries.

The ‘U.S.-Russia Social Expertise Exchange’ (SEE for short) was set up to promote co-operation between civil society leaders from the two countries.

Twelve working groups bring together experts in programme areas that include, for example, child protection, collaborative journalism, gender equity, and ‘rule of law and the community’.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

My wife, Bonnie Bracey Sutton, is a member of the SEE working group on ‘Education and Youth’, and I had the chance to accompany her to its last meeting, held on 10-11 October in Washington, DC.The working group had a research seminar in March 2015,

Our greatest surprise was to discover that Russia, despite its leadership in areas like space technology, is a poor country. People take home USD 250-300 a month. Of course, prices are lower than in the U.S, so that is not so terrible in terms of purchasing power.

The U.S. Government has said that despite poor political relationships, social and cultural exchanges between the two countries will continue to be funded. We hope so, and we will see what modest support we can provide to contribute to them.

Saint Petersburg 

Russian Language?DSCN2090

I tried to learn the Russian language, but I was not fluent.  Help I received from younger fellows who were Russian Language Majors was excellent.Google Glass helped me us with menu choices, locations and navigation.

My teacher used very formal lessons which worked in very , very formal situations. Later in the trip we had others who facilitated easily.Perhaps because they were Russian ( English Language Teachers) they stayed  in the background except when needed. People were friendly and accommodating. Many people speak reasonable English. There is a respect for age. People give up their seats and they help you. This was a surprise to me.


I had help from Google Glass for some things. It was like a second helper to me. I could do street signs and use Google translate for menus and programs as well. I could find things in stores, and negotiate the metro. I did not wear it much except in classrooms and in places to dine , since my Russian is at tourist level.It was helpful because it could define areas of the cities to know about , and places that I would like to visit, though I was not there for a vacation.There was little play time. Most helpful was a knowledge of cultural geography, and a refreshment reading of the Ages of Civilization ( Will and Ariel Durant’s history of the world). Internet was always available and fast in the hotels where I stayed. Schools were somewhat conservative in use of technology except in the Institute for Medicine. ( I will explain that later)

Education is very different in Russia.Here are pictures of this wonderful place. It has unusual facilities. https://www.facebook.com/bonnie.sutton/media_set?set=a.10152943058346327.593996326&type=3

Education, Race and Place

Speaking about education in the US is at best complicated, . Institutes have thematic approaches to learning that are integrated and career oriented.

I was warned about racism in Russia. it was not a problem for me.Well, I giggled like a nervous school girls when a student labeled me exotic and talked about reading Anne Rice’s novels.This student wanted to go to New Orleans and eat red beans and rice, and or gumbo. This was on a day when I was thinking to myself, hair I am, that was because I forgot to bring a curling iron or Moroccan oil and the costs of cosmetics from the US, were prohibitive.


It was then that I noticed that lots of people had blue eyes and straight hair. I never saw another person to identify as of color, except a West African who clearly was enjoying his status in Saint Petersburg as a rare individual. Once someone asked me how old I was. Once a small child kissed me . Always in the Metro, people got up and gave me a seat. That was interesting to observe. The constant rain or snow frizzed my hair on a daily basis.I think I am a weather wimp. I now understand why my part of the world (Washington DC is called the South)and I do have a pair of Uggs..


Saint Petersburg was very international. People from all over the world were visiting .It is an international city like Washington, DC.

We visited private and state schools which are termed Institutes. Institutes have a theme and students are educated , constantly on that theme so that their talents and skills can be cultivated. No need to “flip” classes, as there are not pull outs and interruptions in the school day from what we observed. The classes, sports, chorus, dance and involvement with museums and other learning institutions is after school and for a sustained period of time. Students in big cities have
access to food, after school care, and resources of a cultural or sports project.

Capital Cities. Washington, Saint Petersburg( swamp cities)

Thinking about going to Saint Petersburg , meant wading through it’s history which I am still absorbing. I was there on the anniversary of the siege of Leningrad, which was it’s name at that time. At first I did not understand what it was all about. Old men with gold medals and people
came to celebrate the breaking of the siege of Saint Petersburg. A bulletin board in a room in a school got my attention. Then I understood. Technology online gave me the story.

This is from the web site of Saint Petersburg.http://www.saint-petersburg.com/history/siege.asp

” This was undoubtedly the most tragic period in the history of the city, a period full of suffering and heroism. For everyone who lives in St. Petersburg the Blokada (the Siege) of Leningrad is an important part of the city’s heritage and a painful memory for the population’s older generations.
Less than two and a half months after the Soviet Union was attacked by Nazi Germany, German troops were already approaching Leningrad. The Red Army was outflanked and on September 8 1941 the Germans had fully encircled Leningrad and the siege began. The siege lasted for a total of 900 days, from September 8 1941 until January 27 1944. The city’s almost 3 million civilians (including about 400,000 children) refused to surrender and endured rapidly increasing hardships in the encircled city. Food and fuel stocks were limited to a mere 1-2 month supply, public transport was not operational and by the winter of 1941-42 there was no heating, no water supply, almost no electricity and very little food. In January 1942 in the depths of an unusually cold winter, the city’s food rations reached an all time low of only 125 grams (about 1/4 of a pound) of bread per person per day. In just two months, January and February of 1942, 200,000 people died in Leningrad of cold and starvation.”
Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia, politically incorporated as a federal subject and was created, like Washington , DC, on a swamp. It was a Russian window to the west.. It is located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. This makes it very interesting in terms of it’s geographic position, and locale.

When I was there it was a frozen city. It was cold I was not prepared for it. I think the
weather was severe for me, but I learned to manage it with the right clothing, attitude and
food. I imagine that people who live in colder climates found my discomfort interesting if not funny.

Finally, I accepted that it would snow every day and learned to walk on snow over ice. Hood, hat, scarf and thick boots. I also drank lots of hot tea ate oatmeal, rice porridge and wonderful soups.

DNA of Cultural Components

If you think food, shelter, clothing, music, schools, transportation and communication.
Russian culture has a rich history, strong traditions and influential arts, especially when it comes to literature, philosophy, classical music, ballet, architecture, painting, cinema and animation. In a museum there is a complex outreach to students in the region.

Some museums are completely supported by the state, no outside funding needed or wanted.
That was a surprise to me.

What is CyberLearning and Why Should we Care?


by Bonnie Bracey Sutton

K-12 Teacher and Consultant


A group of more than 150 research-based leaders in learning and technology participated in Cyberlearning 2015, a meeting sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). For two days in Arlington, Virginia, attendees collaborated to chart future directions for cyberlearning, a field that examines how new advances in the sciences of learning can integrate with new technologies to broadly and deeply advance  opportunities for learning.

– See more at:


Cyberlearning is about designing new kinds of applications and technology rich experiences, learning how to use them well to foster and assess learning, making the experiences work for particular disciplines and populations, and putting them in place in the world in ways that make a difference.

The cyberlearning research community includes people from a variety of disciplines working together to design and develop innovative learning technologies that deeply relate to, and inform our understanding of, the processes of learning. At its best, cyberlearning is grounded in research and theories on how people learn, reflects deep content expertise, seriously involves practitioners in the design and research, and focuses on learning activities (rather than, say, interactive features or media assets).http://circlcenter.org/about/

Here are some projects that may be of interest.


I have some favorite projects that I learned about , you may discover a lot of others in the commons.

Connected Worlds: Understanding Sustainability Through Discovery and Play connectedworldsStephen Uzzo Cyberlearning DIP Project: Interaction Research in Complex Informal Learning Environments. Groups of museum visitors are able to formulate common goals, take on different roles and responsibilities and solve problems … Read more

Distance Learning through Game-Based 3D Virtual Learning Environments: Mission Hydro Science mhs-screenshotJames Laffey The Mission HydroScience (MHS) project seeks to design, develop and evaluate a game-based 3D virtual learning environment (3D VLE) for teaching and learning in blended or distance education. MHS … Read more

RALLe: Robot-Assisted Language Learning rall-e-and-autumnLewis Johnson The RALLe project is investigating how to design simulation-based learning experiences for language learning that optimize learner motivation and promote conversational skills. We are doing this by developing a … Read more

An online game that allows players to build their own moon and sculpt its features has won big praise in science art competition.

The game, called “Selene: A Lunar Construction GaME,” measures how and when players learn as they discover more about how the Earth’s moon formed and, by extension, the solar system. It received an honorable mention in the 2012 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge, the journal Science announced today (Jan. 31).

As players experiment with the game, they learn more about one of the easiest heavenly bodies they can study, Selene developers said.

“The moon is the only body in the entire universe that we on Earth can look at with the unaided eye,” Debbie Denise Reese, principle investigator of the overarching Cyberlearning through Game-based, Metaphor Enhanced Learning Objectives (CyGaMEs) project, told SPACE.com. “When they look at the moon, players are seeing what actually created those features.”

No longer are the dark plains and overlapping craters a mystery.

“It makes moon observations more meaningful,” Reese said.

You Can Build Your Own Moon!!

Named for the Greek goddess of the moon, Selene works in two parts. In the first round, players aim asteroids of varying sizes, densities, and radiations so that they collide with one another. Too much force, and the rocks ricochet off one another. [How Earth’s Moon Formed (Video)]

But even if you overshoot your target, the gravity of the growing moon may tug just enough to pull the new piece into the pack, giving participants a chance to watch accretion in action. The developing moon is constantly compared to the real-life one, and players strive to make as close a match as possible.

After all of the small asteroids have melted together to form a smooth new moon, it’s time to scratch up the surface. Players can aim asteroids of varying sizes at the body, and select areas where lava breaks through the crust. Again, the time range is compared to Earth’s moon, with spikes and dips in bombardment and lava flow that the player must work to emulate.

“Playing Selene could be tied to eyeball observations of the moon at night,” Charles ‘Chuck’ Wood, Executive Director of the center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, told SPACE.com by email.

This is a great free game for project based learning. Find it and videos here.


I Can’t Breathe… I Can’t Code…and other Significant Modifers.. I Can’t Learn ??(What’s Going On?)


People around the world understand the simple sentence, ” I Can’t Breathe”. For most people no definition is required  to understand the significance of the quote. It has almost universal support in advocacy.

We know I can Code because of an intense media blitz and dedication to the skill.

What would happen if we targeted the other needed skills in the same way? Just saying…

 Maybe the easiest way is to share a powerful photo like this to get the message across.
But there are other messages that contribute to the problem.
One of them would be..
I  Can’t Read.
Superhero kid. Girl power concept
Those of us who have worked with struggling readers know the frustration and angst of their chore.
There is technology that can solve the reading problem. but teachers are limited to the vendor of choice of a school system or school, or of what they know about. Choice is not often given, but a vendored solution is. Skilled teachers can use technology to entice, entrance, involve and snare a reader who is struggling.. if they have time and permission to discover joy. Sesame Street gets it so right.
Often the solutions for struggling readers are more boring work that seems to never end. Students are taken out of class for skill and drill. Gamification helps. I know , I have used it. Here’s the thing about a game. It is ok to fail. It is ok to do it over. It is ok to race against your last score. There are solutions that modify the lack of reading fluency and these solutions provide entry into reading.
Award reading puts interest, ideas and skills into a package of individualization. There are other vendors that do the same. I am not sure why success is a problem. It make be the noise in the vendor space or the confusion in the learning landscape about what to do.
There are solutions. I post about Award reading because it works for me.
Man without identity programing in technology enviroment with cy
Older Struggling Readers ( a real problem)

If children receive instruction in phonological and alphabetic skills and learn to apply that knowledge to decoding words, they are very likely to succeed at reading. Once children fall behind, they seldom catch up, a reason that such states as California, Virginia, and Texas promote early intervention to prevent reading problems. Reading level in 1st grade, moreover, is an astonishingly good predictor of reading achievement into high school (Catts et al., 1999; Cunningham and Stanovich, 1997; Shaywitz et al, 1999; Fletcher et al. 1994). Reading failure begins early, takes root quickly, and affects students for life.

Improvements in reading education in the lower elementary grades, however, are coming too slowly to affect the huge numbers of students beyond third grade who have been the victims of misguided reading instruction and scarce resources. Many people know that about 42 percent of 4th graders score below basic in overall reading skill on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). In Washington, D.C., where I am currently studying reading intervention, the proportion of students beyond 3rd grade who cannot read well enough to participate in grade-level work is between 60 and 70 percent, depending on the grade and year of assessment. Too few children can compete in higher education and about half fail to complete high school. In this community, the rate of adult illiteracy — reading below 4th grade level — is 37%, the highest in the nation. Nationally, 25% of all adults are functionally illiterate. 

I Can’t Connect
Boost in Erate Program .. so needed.
 Students at KIPP Austin Obras in Austin, Texas, use their English Language Arts program. Students spend time on the computers working on different standards according to individual need.
What is the state of broadband in the US? 


In a recent survey we found that 15% of American adults do not use the internet. Those least likely to use the internet:

  • Senior citizens
  • Adults with less than a high school education
  • Those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year

Among adults who do not use the internet, almost half have told us that the main reason they don’t go online is because they don’t think the internet is relevant to them.

Those who are connected seem not to know that there are pockets of people who cannot connect or who do so only in school. Technology delivery to some  school is suspect. More than that the brosdbsnd footprint on a community is a problem in many cases. Too expense, too limited and unavailable in public spaces where children can easily go.
We suggested from the NIIAC, years ago, the school, the cultural centers, the community centers and other structures for access. In some cases this works. There are remote places all over the US
in spite of BYOD and mobile devices. I was there when the idea of E-rate was initiated but others claim the idea. That’s good. That means it is important.
Did I mention that the tool use, and ownership is a problem in urban, rural, distant and remote locations? In some cases ownership is limited to old technology, in some cases there is help but the people who need the tools don’t know how to connect to the resource.
I have been teaching STEM.. the use of science, technology , engineering and math since I started teaching years ago. At one time it was called SMET by NASA. At another time it was revised and brought out as something new. When a Nation at Risk came forward, some steps were taken to provide national policy but, foremost was the idea of testing, not the idea of creating resources, and teachers who were skilled in technology. the technology wagon was about tools and the investment in teacher proficiency was limited by the imagination of Sesame Street, the George Lucas Educational Foundation, The National Geographic… you can see where this is going. Well, school systems like to provide their own professional development, using vendors or their own personnel. So we got a new layer of administrators. The IT person became important even if connectivity was all they knew. Sigh. Education became a business , and conferences, webinars and meetings were
everywhere. Teachers were running to catch up with the latest pedagogy and technology use. Some of the efforts worked. NASA and NOAA and ESRI and the National Geographic and other groups
provided leadership.
Conferences grew into a huge synergy of tools, transition, workshops and speakers. We are still in that space, but with new additions. National ways of working, Common Core, New Science Standards… we have leapfrogged ” No Child Left Behind ” it is there and it is not there. Common Core is there and it is not there. It depends on your state and your state of mind and your ability to test using technology..
Remember the places that don’t have the technology? If there is limited technology well, the technology is used to test and children may lose access during the pretesting and testing times.
I CAN’T DO STEM !! Why Not?
My dad was an industrial arts teacher. There were also agronomy and career focused schools. There still are some of these places where one can go to learn things like plumbing, carpentry, industrial engineering, animal husbandry, but I fear many of these subjects have been thrown away to the dream of technology as a silver bullet. One of the problems with STEM is that a lot of people seriously , who teach do not have a STEM background, or one that is up to date.
I think the people who are connected do not remember that there are people struggling to learn the ways of technology with teachers and people who have limited knowledge. I am not even talking about coding. That’s next. I love the after school programs and CIRCL expanding technology and the games that make learning so different, but who knows these programs and even more interesting who has the skills to write the grants and  put good practices in the learning landscape of their own geographical space. There are gatekeepers, administrators who have choices to make and they don’t make informed choices. I finished a wonderful workshop on GIS and I am not new to GIS, but sharing what I learned seems impossible. I have been put into place by testing, or pushed aside by people who don’t know ESRI Connects and who have their own agenda ( being in power).
To attend, learn and have the skills to share is one thing. To be given permission to teach, to mentor is another thing.
Here is where the organizations come in to make a roadmap. But everyone is not on their radar. There are costs involved . So ESRI gave state licenses and mentors to help. Sadly , there are people who are unconscious to the facilitation of knowledge that ESRI has given in a national push.
This is my favorite picture, but it does not show community projects. The power of GIS is all over our
neighborhoods in meaningful ways.
Powerful , powerful community resource management. Some communities of color are suspect. That’s because they don’t know the job power, the career power of GIS. Understanding innovation should not take so long.

Don’t ignore this powerful message and initiative!



We will discuss coding in the next post. There are so many wonderful messages online this week, check them out.


George Stuart , Frank Withrow and The Jason Project ( Studying the Maya)


monday 037

The Maya , My Students and Me


Learning About MesoAmerica –


When I was a very little girl, I found arrowheads in the dirt on my grandparents farm in Dinwiddie, Virginia. I used to have a collection of arrowheads and found some interesting ones while digging in the dirt. They were obsidian. No television, out there or stores out there so I started learning about the Indian trading routes of ancient times in archaeology books. Then I learned that there were cultures called the Maya, Aztecs and Toltecs. I chose to learn about the Maya because of the obsidian arrowheads that  were found so long ago.

I wanted to know how arrowheads were made, and I began reading about the properties of rocks and minerals. Although I did see some demonstrations of how to make arrowheads, I never really made but one. It was hard work. I saw a demonstration in a museum. I tried it at home. It did not work ,so I knew that I could not teach kids to do it. I needed the Anthropologists from the Smithsonian to confirm, share, document knowledge. All I had was a book, not even maps.

*Technology was available then and now. Many classrooms are at the low end of technology integration and these are tools which can be used and which are now free.

I am not speaking of the New Mexico Turquoise Trail. I am speaking of a Native American trading trail that started in Central America and eventually was a part of Virginia and other states. My young male cousins sold arrowheads to collectors, mine , when they could find them, to a collector. Back then 75cents was to them a lot of money. Sometimes I reburied my cache of arrowheads.

One day I found a purple and white oddly shaped artifact. I taped it around my ankle ( I told them I had sprained my ankle and escaped back to Northern Virginia with that one) but my mother probably thought it was a rock and it disappeared.

Later I saw that purple and white treasure of mine as a Mayan artifact, but I did not know much about the Maya or the other people of MesoAmerica. So, to the Smithsonian I went. There were some exhibits, art and anthro-notes to read from and there was a wonderful collection of books.- expensive books, posters and cultural pieces to purchase. I was teaching 5th grade. I knew Mexico as a country, as art, as food. But I wanted to teach from the point after Columbus landed.

I took a part time job as a Stewardess to see Maya lands.( so long ago)

Learning. Reading, Dreaming.

I did not have a lot of money as a school teacher.When Voyage of the Mimi came out Voyage 2. No one objected.

The science supervisor ignored it, the history department did not care.. so I co-opted to use it in the Talented and Gifted Program. Actually I borrowed it on pre-view first.I loved it and I told them so.

See here. http://www.ovguide.com/tv/the_voyage_of_the_mimi.htm

It is still available and quite interesting.

While seated at a dinner for National Geographic teacher fellows, I met George Stuart, and I did not know of his work. He asked me what interest I had in the Maya.. I began to tell him how I borrowed the “Voyage of the Mimi 2″ and loved it so much.. but that I had to send it back ( too Expensive) He asked for my card. The very next week my class and I had not only the whole Voyage of the Mimi, games, maps, teacher edition and all.

At that time,Frank Withrow was the Secretary of Education who encouraged this program. and there was the Jason Project which let us be sophisticated about the lianes, caves, the jungle and the areas of the Maya( the geography of where they lived). We had a laster disc.

New Tools
Here is a interactive map of the Maya.


Drone Technology has allowed for more discoveries in the jungles. Here is a picture from Langunita.These are rediscovered cities.

ESRI allows students to do story maps , and that is a new way of using technology in learning. It is powerful.

The Second Voyage of the Mimi was a twelve-episode American educational television program depicting a fictional crew of a sailboat named the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Southern Mexico. Along the way, they learn a lot about ancient civilization and also attempt to foil the plans of looters who steal the artifacts from the ancient sites.

The series aired on PBS and was created by the Bank Street College Thisof Education in 1988 to teach middle-schoolers about science and social studies in an interesting and interactive way.

In each episode, viewers are taught something scientific relating to plot events in the previous episode of the show. For example, an episode’s plot would be about deciphering Mayan writing, and the viewer also receives information about how the Maya wrote various words and numbers.

Elementary school teachers will find more than just springboards for archeological lessons in The Second Voyage of the Mimi, but also springboards for lessons in writing techniques, social studies, linguistics and history. People talk about STEAM. We had even more than that. We had the elements of culture with resources, but it gets better than that.

National Geographic magazines have always been my passport to the rest of the world . Through them I became mesmerized with the ancient civilizations of America. Then I discovered the library. I love that library.

There was also Hilda Taba’s work. They were cards that you put in order to solve an ancient case study. I used them so effectively as we studied culture that a parent complained to my principal that she used to know who discovered America before I taught her child. I had to document differences from the 5th grade book. Oh boy was I in trouble at first!

I used it twice on loan, and while sitting at a dinner at National Geographic the program came into the conversation and I told them about it. Who knew that George Stuart was in on the program. He was sitting there, and he asked me for my school address. n

The five-hundredth anniversary of the first trans-Atlantic voyage of Christopher Columbus was coming 1992 in the United States.

The Smithsonian had a variety of exhibitions, public programs and scholarly publications to commemorate Columbus’ voyage to the Americas. All the programs and events highlighted the Quincentenary themes: (1) Magnificent Traditions, (2) Dynamic of the Encounter, (3) Continuity of the Encounter and (4) The Next 500 Years.

major Smithsonian Quincentenary programs such as exhibitions: “Seeds of Change”, “American Encounters”, “Where Next, Columbus”, “The West as America”, “Portraiture in the Reign of Philip II”, and the “Amazonia: The New World Explored on the Occasion of the Columbus Quincentenary”.


National Gallery of Art Loan Materials in Online Resources

Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration


Twenty objects illustrate artistic traditions and achievements from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas around (circa) the year 1492, when European explorers created new links among continents.

The Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration loan packet includes:

  • a 53-page booklet
  • 15 color study prints

a slideset with 20 works of art.


Seeds of Change

October 26, 1991 May 23, 1993

Museum: Natural History Museum

They focused on the horse, the potato, tomato, corn and disease and the resources are archived in the Smithsonian resources.
Disease and the horse had a dramatic impact on both continents. Indians in the Americas had no previous exposure to smallpox, measles, typhus or influenza, diseases carried to the New World by the explorers. The horse, which died out in the Americas during the Ice Age, was reintroduced by Columbus and played a significant role in the conquest and settlement of the lands.

Three food items, corn, potatoes and sugar, added variety and sustenance to diets worldwide after Columbus packed them in his return trip cargo. The exhibit depicts corn as an important dietary staple in Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia. Farmers in the Andes in South America cultivated thousands of species of potatoes, a crop that subsequently became an integral part of European, Soviet and Asian diets.

An intimate journey through a Montserrat sugar plantation explains the impact of the slave-driven trade. Viola estimates that it took the life of one slave to produce one ton of sugar.Exportation of sugar dramatically changed European lifestyles as desserts and pastries of all kinds were developed.

A wealth of historically inspired recipes were compiled for release in conjunction with the quincentennial observance.

The “Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook” documented the origins of traditional American recipes with anecdotes and family histories. Divided into regional sections, the book profiled local specialties, many based on two of the “seeds,” corn and potatoes.

The tradition of giving food to friends, as Columbus inadvertently did, was important to the livelihood of regional cooks, explains cookbook authors Katherine and Tom Kirlin.

“These are the kinds of people who would gladly feed the whole world if they could just find a kitchen big enough,” Katherine added.

Examined the exchange of plants and seeds between the Old and New Worlds following Columbus’s discovery of America in 1492. Themes include the introduction of horses, sugar, and disease to the New World and the introduction of potatoes and corn to the Old World. Introductory film, on first floor, runs continuously.

The Office of Folklife Programs organized events such as the Festival of American Folklife “living exhibitions” which featured “The Caribbean: Cultural Encounters in the New World” (June/July 1989), the Festival’s 1991 and 1992 features of the indegenous populations of the Americas, focusing on cultures of the rainforests, Andean Highlands, Valley, Desert, Northwest Coast, Woodlands and Pinenut gathering cultures, also the symposia, “Seeds of the Past” (1988), “Seeds of Commerce” (1989), and “Seeds of Industrialization” (1990), including Folklife Programs in collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Records of music and verbal arts, Smithsonian Quincentenary radio programs highlighted living cultural exhibitions,there were teacher-training workshops and exhibition program books; and a Quincentenary multi-cultural curriculum which was five-units *bilingual

Cyberlearning Research Summit – Futuring in the World of Education





To continue to lead in an increasingly crowded space of contributors from other agencies, corporations, and interest groups the community NSF funding fosters felt the need to share the “transformative potential” called for in cyberlearning.

Instructive is the Blog from SRI
SRI Blog
The photos in the original blog are at the site.

National Cyberlearning Summit Features Major Advances in Learning with Technology
By Jeremy Roschelle at 12:57 PM PDT, Wed Jun 18, 2014

On June 9 and 10, 2014, more than 100 investigators, innovators, researchers, and educators convened for a summit at the University of Wisconsin, Madison to identify and communicate major advances in learning with technology. Participants presented findings from diverse projects, yet a common message emerged from the summit: the importance of highlighting new images of what learning looks like.

SRI Blog
The photos in the original blog are at the site.


National Cyberlearning Summit Features Major Advances in Learning with Technology
By Jeremy Roschelle at 12:57 PM PDT, Wed Jun 18, 2014

On June 9 and 10, 2014, more than 100 investigators, innovators, researchers, and educators convened for a summit at the University of Wisconsin, Madison to identify and communicate major advances in learning with technology. Participants presented findings from diverse projects, yet a common message emerged from the summit: the importance of highlighting new images of what learning looks like.

The images of learning shared at the summit centered on students’ engagement in meaningful inquiry and knowledge creation, while using new tools that enable students to more intuitively and deeply express what they know and can do. The images also emphasized collaboration and conversation with both peers and mentors, and that student inquiry and learning is accelerated and sustained when students participate in supportive learning communities. While technology in learning is growing rapidly through the efforts of many communities, the cyberlearning research community demonstrated unique accomplishments in achieving this new image of learning in several ways:

Through design-based research
By incorporating modern learning theory
By collecting rigorous data to inform improvement
By building partnerships for impact

Further, the cyberlearning community showed unusual strength in approaches to learning that spanned and connected classroom-based, home-based, and community-based learning environments.

Opening presentations featured compelling images of how technology can support students’ engagement in inquiry and knowledge creation. For example, Dr. Ingmar Riedel-Kruse (Stanford University) showed how an undergraduate biology course could engage students in meaningful inquiry despite students’ lack of prior experience in setting up biology experiments.

Dr. Riedel-Kruse demonstrated a robotic apparatus for conducting controlled experiments with real organisms from an internet browser.

This apparatus allowed undergraduates to design their own experiments to explore patterns of growth and to collect data and images from the experiments on their laptops over the internet, from any place and at any time of day. This enabled students’ inquiry process to grow from curiosity about visual patterns to running an extended series of experiments and collecting quantitative data, while supporting newcomers to biology who didn’t have the requisite skills to set up biological experiments and measurement apparatus.

Dr. Jim Slotta (University of Toronto) showed how conventional classrooms could become places where students do field work. Strategically placed monitors in a reconfigured classroom revealed an imaginary, simulated infestation of bugs crawling behind the walls and under the floorboards of the classroom, and students were thrust into the challenging of understanding the insects’ behavior by making observations, developing conjectures, and testing hypotheses.

In another example, the classroom became a rainforest in which a simulated natural disaster had taken place, and students had to make observations and collect data to uncover the cause.

Dr. Slotta’s central advance was a technique for writing computer-controlled scripts that could immerse students in these experiences, and yet keep them moving towards key learning outcomes—thus relieving the teacher of the need to orchestrate the sequence of learning experiences in these complex, immersive simulations. This allowed the teacher to focus with the students on the content and process of learning science.

Another characteristic of the images of learning at the summit was how they involved new forms of student expression. In a simple, yet mind-blowing demonstration of augmented reality, Dr. Jodi Davenport (WestEd) showed how technology could enable playful, hands-on work to connect with conceptual scientific investigations. Dr. Davenport handed out Lego-like models of molecules that students could hold in their hands and manipulate into new shapes. A tablet computer with special image recognition software was able to recognize what the student was doing and instantly visualize hidden scientific phenomena and variables—heat, energy, chemical bonds, etc.—thus connecting students’ physical moves to scientific models.

In another example overlaying scientific ideas on a familiar substrate, Dr. Tapan Parikh (University of California, Berkeley) showed tools that allowed youth to represent data about their communities by overlaying photographs and symbolic representations on maps on their mobile devices (e.g. from Google Maps). Likewise, Dr. Deborah Fields (Utah State University) demonstrated crafts that incorporate technology. She shared student projects such as making bicycling clothing that could show turn signals and increase safety. Dr. Fields’ message was that expression of STEM knowledge and skill could be grounded in hands-on projects with fabric, wood, and other materials—and not just what students do on paper or on computers. These are but a few of the exciting demonstrations given at the summit.

Although some people foresee technology as taking over human teaching roles, such as tutoring students or making instructional decisions, several of the strongest technological advances at the summit emphasized how technology could augment and complement the roles of people. In one example, Dr. Carolyn Rosé (Carnegie Mellon University) examined how students collaborate in online learning environments via discussion boards. She showed an innovative technology that could analyze the discussion and intervene as an additional discussion partner. Scholars have found that deep learning is fostered by when teachers and students engage in “accountable talk”. Dr. Rosé’s computational agents could join a conversation to bolster the human participants’ engagement in the routines of accountable talk, such as prompting students to ask each other to explain (and not just assert) ideas.

Although some people foresee technology as taking over human teaching roles, such as tutoring students or making instructional decisions, several of the strongest technological advances at the summit emphasized how technology could augment and complement the roles of people. In one example, Dr. Carolyn Rosé (Carnegie Mellon University) examined how students collaborate in online learning environments via discussion boards. She showed an innovative technology that could analyze the discussion and intervene as an additional discussion partner. Scholars have found that deep learning is fostered by when teachers and students engage in “accountable talk”. Dr. Rosé’s computational agents could join a conversation to bolster the human participants’ engagement in the routines of accountable talk, such as prompting students to ask each other to explain (and not just assert) ideas.

In another example, Dr. Janice Gobert (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) showed how a simulated science lab could give students useful feedback not only on multiple choice questions about simple facts, but also about the process of carrying out a scientific inquiry—and this feedback could help students and teachers focus not only on right answers but more importantly on how scientists conduct valid investigation.

Dr. Janice Gobert (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) showed how a simulated science lab could give students useful feedback not only on multiple choice questions about simple facts, but also about the process of carrying out a scientific inquiry—and this feedback could help students and teachers focus not only on right answers but more importantly on how scientists conduct valid investigations.

In a third example, Dr. Sidney D’Mello demonstrated facial recognition technology that could detect when students were confused, frustrated, or bored—and the startling fact that the image recognition technology was more accurate in determining these emotions than typical teachers. Whereas the term “cyberlearning” might sound cold and robotic, Dr. D’Mello highlighted how cyberlearning is actually moving to richly engage with student emotions, and the relationships among emotion and reasoning—for example, that temporary state of confusion can be productive for students’ learning, but not if the confusion shifts into frustration and disengagement. Dr. D’Mello offered that the ability to recognize whether students were productively confused or unhappily frustrated by might help teachers and students better regulate learning experiences.

Participants at the summit also brought many examples of playful learning environments, such as games. However, when people think of video games they often imagine children engaged in solitary, isolated activity. In contrast, a particularly strong consonance among presentations at the summit was on the importance of collaboration and community for learning outcomes in playful environments.

For example, Dr. Nichole Pinkard (DePaul University) shared work from the Cities of Learning program, a summer program in Chicago (and soon, many other cities) that engages youth in a web of related neighborhood activities to increase their participation in STEM activities and build their personal identities as STEM learners. Dr. Pinkard explained how the thoughtful design of multiple opportunities for learning in neighborhoods and communities along with recruitment of different types of mentors and adult leaders led to positive experience for youth as they played games and engaged in playful activities. Here, STEM learning was situated not as a solitary game, but as a social gaming challenge in youths’ neighborhoods.

Dr. Leilah Lyons (University of Illinois, Chicago and New York Hall of Science) highlighted how well-designed tools can foster a particularly productive form of collaborative learning in which students have tools aggregate what they are learning, potentially on different aspects of a shared phenomena or problem.

Dr. Yasmin Kafai (University of Pennsylvania) emphatically demonstrated how programming (an activity which is strongly connected with images of solitary activity) engages learners more strongly when understood and contextualized as a community activity which involves more than writing code—how online youth communities where students tell stories, build games, and make animations can foster learning to code.

As the summit wrapped up, participants reflected on the challenge of achieving large-scale impacts from cyberlearning investigations. Some thought it could take 10 to 20 years until these new images of learning were widely deployed in society and a similar length of time for the necessary technologies to mature and become widespread. Others saw opportunities to deploy cyberlearning advances more immediately, potentially in the context of existing products or classroom practices. Some suggested open source as a means to make technical advances available more broadly, while others emphasized the participation of cyberlearning leaders in start-up companies or as consultants to established companies.

Importantly, representatives from both large and small commercial and nonprofit publishers attended the meeting. Michael Jay of Educational Systemics offered a key insight. Mr. Jay said the overriding challenge was overcoming cultural differences between research communities and practitioner communities, and between research communities and entrepreneurial communities—differences that make communicating about advances and working together difficult. There was broad agreement that it was important to keep exploring and understanding these differences, and to find practical, immediate steps that would enable the cyberlearning community to engage with like-minded, yet complementary partners to achieve greater impacts.

More information about the cyberlearning summit and other activities and accomplishments can be found at the http://circlcenter.org web site. Video recordings of many of the key talks are available at this site and on YouTube.
The Cyberlearning Summit was hosted by the Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL), based at SRI International in collaboration with Educational Development Center (EDC) and NORC. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Sherry Hsi (Lawrence Hall of Science) served as program chair, assisted by a diverse program committee, as well as a logistics team headed by Sarita Pillai at EDC.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers IIS-1233722 and IIS-1441631. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.